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What is puberty gingivitis?

Puberty gingivitis is a completely preventable but serious gum disease that affects adolescents, typically during their puberty phase. In this post, our Riverview dentists discuss the symptoms and causes of puberty gingivitis, as well as how to prevent your kids from getting it.

What causes puberty gingivitis?

Puberty gingivitis is a very common but not very well-known condition in preteens and teenagers. As with any form of gingivitis, it may progress to more serious periodontal disease if it is not identified and treated early on. It is most common in children between the ages of 11 and 13.

Puberty gingivitis is usually caused by a combination of poor oral hygiene habits and diet, combined with elevated hormone levels during puberty (which increase the sensitivity of the gums to accumulated dental plaque). Poor nutrition can make it challenging for the body to fight off infections, which puts children at a higher risk of developing gum disease.

Teens who smoke, vape, or chew tobacco tend to be more likely to contract gum disease than non-smoking peers. 

Being under continuous stress weakens the immune system and increases inflammation. High-stress levels, combined with poor oral health and hygiene, can cause gum disease to develop over time. 

This combination of factors puts young people at a greater risk of developing gingivitis as they become more independent with their hygiene.


Symptoms of puberty gingivitis include:

  • Bleeding and inflammation of the gums
  • Oral redness swollen
  • Softer gum tissue (not as firm to the touch)
  • Bad breath


The best "treatment" for puberty gingivitis is prevention!

As your children get older and more independent, they may be less inclined to listen to their parents about maintaining good oral health. Parents must remain firm on this point to prevent gum disease from developing.

Ensure that your pre-teen brushes thoroughly for two full minutes in the morning and again before bed, and flosses carefully at least once a day.

If your child has already developed gingivitis, periodontal therapy at your dentist’s office may help to get it under control. Mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine can be used to control the infection as well. Our Riverview dentists will also advise your teen on the correct brushing and flossing techniques for long-term dental health.

More questions about gum disease in your children? Contact us at Riverview Dentistry today!

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