What to Do for a Toddler with Swollen Gums

young girl covering face with both hands

Your child’s dental health is more than just their teeth. The gums are important too, and if there’s an issue, they might also need treatment from a dentist. Sometimes your toddler’s gums may be swollen over their teeth – making it painful for them to chew.

If this is the case, it’s best to schedule a dentist appointment for them sooner, rather than later.

Causes of Swollen Gums

The most common reason for gum swelling is bacteria in the mouth. Typically, regular brushing and flossing will help clear away the bacteria that can cause gums to swell. So if you haven’t been helping your toddler with this, now is the time to start

Swollen gums can happen even if your toddler has only a few teeth, as their mouth still needs to be cleaned. Also, don’t forget to schedule your little one’s first dentist visit within six months after their first tooth erupts!

Other Potential Causes for a Toddlers Gums Swelling Over Their Teeth:

  • Gum Disease – This is caused by chronic bacterial infection. The moderate form is called Gingivitis and the severe form is called Periodontitis.
  • Dry mouth – This can be caused by an underlying health condition, so if your child’s gum swelling is due to this, be sure to see their primary care provider.
  • Malnutrition – This is rare in developed countries, but being sure your child has a healthy, balanced diet can help keep their gums from getting infected.
  • Oral trauma – This can be caused by anything from brushing too hard to accidental falls. At your child’s exam, your dentist will examine your child’s mouth for trauma, and the good news is once it heals, your toddler’s gums swelling over their teeth should be greatly reduced.

Be sure to keep track of your child’s habits and potential recent injuries so you can inform your dentist when you arrive for your appointment.

Treatment for Swollen Gums

dentist inspecting boy’s gums

The first and most important step when you notice your child has swollen gums is to remain calm and schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist as soon as possible. The dentist will conduct an exam to determine the cause and best treatment for the swelling.

 

If gum disease is the culprit, your dentist may recommend specific oral rinses and/or toothpastes to treat the infection. If the gum disease is very advanced, they may use a process called scaling to clean the plaque and bacteria off the teeth and gums. This treatment will help stop the progression of the gum disease and ensure the teeth smoothly connect back to the gums.

In between your discovery of your toddler’s gums swelling over their teeth and your child’s exam, you can take steps at home to help ease your child’s discomfort. Make sure you continue to help them brush and floss, but do so very gently so as not to further injure the infected tissue.

If your child is old enough, you can also have them rinse with a saltwater solution to help reduce bacteria. Mix one cup of lukewarm water with 1 teaspoon of salt. Have your child take a small sip and swish it around in their mouth. Emphasize they should not swallow the solution! Doing this three or four times a day can help soothe their gums.

girl holding both her cheeks

Additionally, you can use a hot compress to help with the pain of your toddler’s gums swelling over their teeth. Or, if their gums are very large, a cold compress can help reduce the swelling. Lastly, make sure your child is drinking a lot of water, as this stimulates saliva production, which helps reduce bacteria in the mouth.

How to Prevent Swollen Gums

Once you’ve seen your pediatric dentist and your child’s gum swelling has healed, ensure it doesn’t return by practicing regular, proper oral hygiene. Help your toddler to brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. Also make sure they’re flossing once a day, again, with assistance if necessary.

If your toddler is resistant to a frequent brushing routine, try including them in your daily habit, making a game of it, or even setting up a fun, two-minute-long song to teach them brushing isn’t a chore or a punishment.

Remain regular with your child’s dental checkups. Seeing a dentist every six months not only helps keep their teeth extra clean (especially in hard-to-reach places) but it also helps your dentist spot any potential problems and address them early.

Are Your Child’s Gums Swollen?

If your toddler’s gums have swollen over their teeth, it’s time to visit us! Schedule your consultation today and let our friendly staff help your child get back to their healthy, vibrant self as soon as possible.

For any other questions or issues you may notice with your child’s dental health, contact us. We’re happy to welcome you to the Children’s Dentistry of Las Vegas family.

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