Why Are My Kid's Gums Swollen?

Gum swelling is something that happens to many people at some point in their lives and while not a problem in isolation, it can be a symptom of certain oral health problems or other conditions. 

It’s important to pay attention to your child’s other symptoms and to examine their teeth to look for potential causes. Read on in this blog from Villa Park Pediatric Dentistry to learn about the potential causes of swollen gums and how to prevent them.

Your Child Could Be Teething

When your child is teething, swelling of the gums is a normal response. After all, primary and permanent teeth are erupting through the gums. Some swelling and tenderness are normal when a child is teething, especially when you can see the tooth breaking through the gums or know that it is time for a new tooth to come through. 

However, your child shouldn’t be in severe discomfort or bleeding. If the only symptoms your child is experiencing are swelling of the gums with signs of a tooth breaking through, then you can just monitor the eruption of the teeth from home and make sure your child is practicing good oral hygiene. 

Don’t neglect their regular checkups but there’s no need to visit the dentist specifically for teething-related swelling.

Poor Oral Hygiene

When your child neglects to properly or adequately brush and floss their teeth, plaque will accumulate around the gum line as a result of bacteria and food particles lingering around in the mouth. 

This will result in inflammation of the gums, which causes swelling. Swollen gums in the wake of a poor oral hygiene routine are not a good sign and can signal that your child is at risk for developing gum disease. 

You should ensure that your child is brushing their teeth for at least 2 minutes twice a day with a soft bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Flossing needs to be done once a day. Children often need assistance brushing and flossing until they’re about 6 or 7 years old because they lack manual dexterity. 

Once your child is cleaning their teeth on their own, you should still monitor them to make sure they’re doing it properly and for the necessary duration to remove plaque and food particles.

Warning Sign of Gingivitis

When your child’s gums are red, swollen, tender, and bleeding, this is a sign of gingivitis, which is an early stage of gum disease. It occurs when there is a buildup of plaque and tartar as a result of poor oral hygiene and when tartar is not removed at the dentist. 

Tartar cannot be removed at home with regular brushing and flossing and it only takes 24 hours for plaque to harden into tartar. The good news is that in the early stages, gingivitis is reversible with a dental cleaning and proper oral hygiene. 

If left untreated, however, it will advance into periodontitis, which causes irreversible damage to the soft tissues and underlying jawbone.

Tooth Infection

When swelling is localized to a specific tooth and is accompanied by tooth sensitivity, pain, an abscess, and bad breath, this is a sign of a tooth infection. You may also notice facial or jaw swelling. 

A tooth can become infected as a result of untreated tooth decay or dental trauma that causes inflammation in the dental pulp when bacteria reaches the soft inside layer of the tooth. When a tooth is infected, your body produces swelling in response. 

Signs of a tooth infection are a dental emergency. If you suspect your child has a tooth infection, you should contact us right away so we can assess and treat the tooth. An infection left untreated will spread to the other teeth or spread through the bloodstream and can result in the loss of the tooth.

Prevention & Treatment for Swollen Gums At Villa Park Pediatric Dentistry

At Villa Park Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Butler is an expert pediatric dentist who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and preventing oral health problems in children. If you notice your child experiencing swollen gums, we can perform an oral exam to determine the cause. 

If it’s a result of an oral health problem, we can treat it immediately to prevent any permanent damage or long-term consequences. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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