When your child brushes or flosses, do their gums bleed? If so, it might be a symptom of something that sounds pretty scary: gum disease. A mild form of gum disease, or periodontal disease, known as gingivitis also produces symptoms including gum irritation and inflammation.
However, these two conditions are not the only reasons why your child’s gums are bleeding. Other conditions and factors might be at work. Your dentist can help you determine the cause and resolve the issue.
It’s completely understandable that you want to identify the cause behind your child’s bleeding gums so that they can get the proper treatment immediately. Here are five possible causes behind gum bleeding in children:
Children and teens often don’t have the best eating habits, despite the best efforts of parents and guardians. Candy, fast food, soft drinks and highly processed foods can all mask a nutritional deficit. If your child isn’t getting enough of the vitamins and minerals crucial to good dental health, bleeding gums may be the frightening result.
It’s always best to get essential vitamins and minerals from food rather than from supplements. Make sure your child eats a well-balanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to make sure they’re getting enough Vitamins A, B, C, D, and K as well as sufficient amounts of iron. If you’re concerned that your child or teen isn’t getting proper nutrition from their diet, talk to your pediatrician.
Sometimes, the culprit behind gum bleeding is mechanical. Kids often brush too strenuously, causing mild damage to gum tissues and resulting in bleeding gums. Fortunately, this problem is pretty simple to resolve. Simply replace their toothbrush with one that is soft-bristled and show them the right amount of pressure to apply.
However, regardless of whether you think vigorous brushing is the culprit behind your child’s bleeding gums, it’s always wise to arrange a visit to the dentist. It’s possible that gum disease might also be present, and that’s something that should be addressed as soon as possible.
In some cases, a medication might be to blame for bleeding gums. For example, blood thinners and aspirin can reduce the body’s ability to form blood clots and increase the likelihood of bleeding. Other medications might cause secondary conditions such as dry mouth that can lead to an increased risk of gum disease over time. If your child takes any prescription or over-the-counter medications and is experiencing bleeding gums after brushing or flossing, ask your pediatrician about side effects and possible alternatives.
Rarely, some serious and chronic conditions can also cause bleeding after brushing or flossing. Illnesses such as leukemia, diabetes, and scurvy have been associated with an increased risk of gum bleeding.
Of course, the most common reason for gum bleeding is gum disease, or periodontal disease, which is generally caused by a buildup of bacteria on the teeth and under the gumline and resulting tooth decay. Consequently, the best way to prevent periodontal disease is through good dental hygiene and regular checkups.
Schedule a visit with your child’s dentist at the earliest possible date. Let your dentist’s office staff know about the reason for the visit when you call to make the appointment. Find a Kool Smiles partner dentist near you and call for an appointment today.