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Bleeding Gums in Children: Should You Be Worried?

Brenna Stone

Are bleeding gums in children a cause for serious concern or nothing to worry about? For adults, gums that bleed during brushing or flossing may be a sign of gingivitis, the initial stage of gum disease. While gum infection and inflammation is common among adults, children can have similar problems as well. If you notice that your child's gums bleed easily, then give your family dentist a call. If there is a problem, the first step to successful treatment is a proper diagnosis from a dental professional.

Possible Causes of a Child's Gums Bleeding

Gingivitis is not the only potential cause of bleeding gums in children. According to the American Dental Association, a new flossing routine can be behind the bleeding. Does your child floss every day? If he skipped a few days, then there may be some bleeding when he starts to floss again. Assist your child with flossing until he is old enough (around ten years of age) to clean really well between his teeth independently. A daily reminder will encourage good flossing habits among older kids. Daily flossing along with twice daily brushing is the formula for the prevention of gum disease at home.

Vigorous or hard brushing can also irritate gum tissue and lead to some bleeding. Gentle brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush is enough to keep teeth clean. Encourage your child to spend two minutes brushing every tooth's surface as well as the tongue for a clean, healthy mouth.

Watching Out for Gum Disease

Bleeding caused by a change in flossing habits or a harsh brushing technique should clear up within a week once flossing becomes regular or your child switches to a soft-bristled brush. Bleeding gums, especially if accompanied by redness, tenderness, bad breath or a receding gumline, may be a sign of gingivitis or a more advanced stage of gum disease.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, gingivitis is a common issue among children. Older children are especially at risk; hormone changes during puberty can increase blood flow to the gums, making tissue more prone to swelling and tenderness. Brushing, flossing and regular dental appointments are central to the prevention and treatment of gingivitis.

Bleeding gums in children can certainly be an indicator of gingivitis. The earlier your child is evaluated by his dentist, the better. When overlooked or ignored, gingivitis can develop into more serious stages of gum disease, which can be difficult to reverse. Talk to your child's dentist if you notice that his gums bleed easily or other signs such as redness and swelling. Even if your child is healthy and has excellent oral care habits at home, it is still important to schedule regular dental checkups as an aid to the timely detection of gum inflammation.

Learn more about gum disease in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

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