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Dent Clin North Am. 2000 Jul;44(3):633-58.

Periodontal diseases in children and adolescents.

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Department of Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


The predominant form of periodontal disease in children and adolescents is gingivitis, which is a nonspecific inflammatory reaction of the marginal gingiva. The inflammatory reaction in the tissue, initiated by dental plaque accumulation, starts early during infancy and reflects the bacterial challenge to the host. In most children, the process of gingival inflammation remains superficial. In some cases, however, the balance between the microbial challenge and the host response is disrupted, leading to an inflammatory process that may result in loss of attachment. Genetic factors that modify the host response to the bacterial challenge are major determinants of susceptibility to the development of EOP, and many systemic diseases have been reported to predispose children and adolescents to periodontal disease. It is important to take a complete medical history of the patient and assess if there is a hereditary trend for periodontitis within the family. Dental professionals should rely on clinical and radiographic criteria of the disease for early identification of children at risk, with special focus on the presence of subgingival calculus. Children with overt gingival inflammation, subgingival calculus, or early signs of alveolar bone loss should be considered as periodontitis-risk patients and should be included in a preventive program as early as possible.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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