bleeding gums in children

As a parent, it is worrying to see bleeding gums in your child’s mouth. Bleeding gums are often the earliest sign of poor oral hygiene.

Gum disease is a widespread dental problem among toddlers and children who do not follow proper tooth brushing and flossing habits.

Although gum inflammation at an early stage is reversible, if the bleeding of gums persists, it may indicate the presence of a severe medical condition.

In cases where the bleeding gums are ignored, the gum disease progresses further to destroy the surrounding oral tissue and cause advanced periodontitis.

Bleeding of gums can occur due to a variety of reasons. Some of the factors may include, vitamin deficiencies, medications, poor oral habits and much more.

As parents, there are specific actions that you can take to instill in your child’s mind, the practice of good oral healthcare.

Improving their brushing habits and providing them a healthy wholesome food are the stepping stones towards better oral health.

Today’s article will educate you on the causes of bleeding gums in children and how can it be treated.

What do healthy gums look like?

Healthy gums or pristine gingiva is characterized as a coral pink colored soft tissue that firmly attaches to the tooth surface. Some people may have slight pigmentations present on the surface of the gingiva. (1)

Healthy gums resist the friction of food passing over them. Moreover, they act as an effective barrier against oral bacteria from entering into the deep periodontal tissues.

The first sign for a change in the health of gingiva is denoted by bleeding. Eventually, color changes, inflammation, and tenderness of the gums may be seen as the disease progresses.

Non-healthy gums lose their ability to protect the periodontium and provide easy access to oral bacteria. This situation further complicates the dental problem.

What causes bleeding gums in children?

Some of the common causes of bleeding gums in children are –

Gum disease

One of the primary cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. Plaque and calculus are the enemies of healthy gingival tissues. The consequences of increased plaque accumulation include redness and inflammation of gingival tissue. (2)

Failure to maintain good oral hygiene can further complicate gum problems and lead to advanced stages of periodontal disease. This condition increases the chances of tooth and bone loss, especially in children.

Choice of toothbrush

Most of the times, parents don’t look at the specifications of toothbrush before buying it. It is essential to know that the size of the head and type of bristles in a toothbrush are the key factors that can make or break the gums.

Often, hard-bristled toothbrush causes trauma to the gums and causes them to bleed. Ideally, a small headed toothbrush with soft bristles should be used to maintain good oral health.

Improper tooth brushing and flossing

Kids often develop the habit of brushing horizontally with too much pressure. This motion abrades the tooth surface, irritates the gingival tissue and requires unnecessary effort while tooth brushing. (3)

The best way to clean properly is to apply light pressure and gently move the brush in a circular motion.

Flossing is also a tedious process to learn for children. Gums are incredibly sensitive to floss; hence they bleed when the child tries to floss his teeth. Often bleeding caused by flossing subsides within a week.

Medications

Specific medications can cause bleeding of the gums. If your child is on a new regime of medications for any health reasons, consult your dentist to look for alternative medicine or ask their advice to stop bleeding gums.

Other causes of bleeding gums may include –

  • Vitamin C and K deficiency (4)
  • A bleeding disorder like hemophilia
  • Dry mouth
  • Injury to gums

What are the signs and symptoms of bleeding gums?

Typical signs and symptoms of bleeding gums may be –

What can you do to stop bleeding gums?

Bleeding gums in children is a dental problem that requires immediate attention. As parents, you can teach your kids the best preventive techniques to maintain good oral hygiene. They include –

  • Brushing two times a day with a small headed toothbrush with soft bristles in a circular motion while applying light pressure. The best time to clean is after breakfast and before bedtime. Participate in tooth brushing along with your kids to keep them motivated.
  • Floss between the teeth at least once in a day. This process can be tedious to learn. Make it enjoyable by teaching them the technique in a fun way.
  • A healthy diet can bring about a significant change in your child’s life. Foods like fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, eggs, meat, and dairy products are best to provide a staple diet.
  • Keep up with regular dental visits to have a professional cleaning of teeth. (5)

Take away message

Bleeding gums in children are an indicator of gum disease. The earlier you notice it, the better it can be for your child.

Often bleeding gums are caused due to poor maintenance of oral hygiene. It can happen because of lack of interest or lack of proper brushing technique.

When these signs are overlooked, the gum disease progresses to involve the periodontal tissue which may further complicate the oral issue.

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to take care of your child’s oral health. Bleeding of gums is a dental problem that can be solved quickly by teaching your kids proper method of tooth brushing.

Engagement of the kids in following a regular oral health care routine can only happen by your active participation.

If bleeding doesn’t stop within a week, consult a dentist to rule out underlying medical problems. Always encourage your kids to take care of their teeth. Your influence will give them a beautiful smile for a lifetime.