Causes of Bleeding Gums in Toddlers
Does your toddler have red, tender, or swollen gums? Or pink-stained saliva after toothbrushing? Those signs and obviously bleeding gums signal your toddling tot might be experiencing one of these conditions:
Plaque and Gingivitis (Gum Disease): We know you do your best to take care of your youngster's needs. But, unfortunately, the culprit causing your toddler's bleeding gums can be improper oral health care. In fact, plaque build-up resulting in gingivitis is the most frequent cause of bleeding gums in toddlers, according to the International Association of Paediatric Dentistry (IAPD).
Here's how it happens:
- Your toddler's mouth bacteria feed on sugars from sweet and starchy foods to form plaque on your little one's gums and teeth.
- The plaque hardens into tartar, leading to tooth decay and gingivitis.
- Gingivitis inflames gum tissue and will bleed when brushed.
Gingivitis typically results from insufficient or incorrect brushing. When overlooked or ignored, gingivitis can develop into more serious gum disease stages, which can be difficult to reverse.
The good news is that you can treat toddler gingivitis at home. And best of all, you can prevent gingivitis. Look for our tips below.
High-Sugar Diet: You already know that soft drinks and candy are bad for gums and teeth. But did you know that fruit juice and dried fruit snack bars are also high in sugar? And high-carbohydrate or starchy foods – bread, chips, crackers, pasta, potatoes, and pretzels – turn into sugars that can cause plaque and lead to bleeding gums?
Dry Mouth and Gums: The IAPD details how dry gums can bleed easily in a mouth that always should be moist. Toddlers can develop dry gums as a result of:
- Breathing through their mouths instead of their noses due to allergic reactions or swollen tonsils or adenoids.
- Inability to close their mouths at night – the result of a short upper lip or another orthodontic issue.
Gum Injury: Healthy gums also sometimes bleed when injured by vigorous brushing or brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush.
Medical Condition: While it's rare, there might be a medical reason your toddler's gums bleed. If you treat the bleeding gums (see below) and your little one's gums continue to bleed, talk to your dental professional.