Young People Can Get Gum Disease, Too—Even Kids!

Gingivitis and gum disease are more common in young people than you might think. Young adults, teens, and kids can all suffer the effects of unhealthy gums.

Young People Can Get Gum Disease, Too—Even Kids!

Unfortunately, gum disease can strike at any age. It’s not just something that adults have to worry about—kids and teens can get gum disease, too. 

It starts as gingivitis, which makes your gums so tender and inflamed that they bleed. And if you don’t get treatment for gingivitis, it could lead to receding gums, tooth decay, and even tooth loss.  

While it’s true that gum disease is more common in people over 30, it’s often a problem for young adults as well. That’s because it’s not always a result of aging—any number of things can cause gum disease, from bad habits to hormones.

Here’s why kids, teens, and young adults get gum disease, and how to prevent it.

Kids and Gum Disease

The things you eat and drink have a direct impact on your dental health. Starchy, sugary, processed foods are some of the worst for your teeth—but these things tend to be exactly what kids crave. And if they’re not brushing their teeth correctly (or if they’re just eating the toothpaste) plaque will build up and cause gingivitis.

To keep kids from getting gum disease, make sure they’re drinking plenty of water between meals, and especially after snacks. Try to avoid giving them sugary beverages like fruit juice or soda. Make sure they have good brushing and flossing habits, and that they get dental checkups twice a year. 

Gingivitis in Teens

Teens face some of the same problems as kids when it comes to diet—junk food and energy drinks can be really bad for their teeth. But changing hormones make things even worse. There’s actually a condition known as “puberty gingivitis” because it’s so common for teens and tweens to have bleeding, swollen gums.

But bad habits like smoking or vaping can also cause gingivitis in teens. Although the numbers have gone down, the CDC estimates that 1 out of every 5 high school students smokes e-cigarettes. Not only do smoking and vaping dry out the mouth, they also cause gum inflammation. 

Gum Disease in Young Adults

Did you know that nearly half of young adults aged 18-30 have some form of gum disease? According to the National Institutes of Health, that number is 47%! That means young adults have almost a 1 out of 2 chance of developing gum disease before they turn 30.

For the most part, poor gum health in young adults is due to poor dental hygiene. Stress, changing schedules, lack of routine, or simply falling out of the habit of brushing and flossing can have serious consequences. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, using mouthwash, and drinking plenty of water can prevent premature gum recession, cavities, and more.

Dental Checkups Help Prevent Gum Disease at Any Age

Kids, teens, and adults all need to see a dentist twice a year. It’s the best way to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. So don’t be shy—we want to see you so we can check for any warning signs that indicate there could be problems later on, like impacted wisdom teeth or gingivitis. 

To make an appointment at our friendly family practice, please call 928-445-1660 or send us a message online.


Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 8/29/2023.