You probably already know that bleeding gums can be a sign of gingivitis. You might have even experienced the issue once or twice yourself. Since gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar, you would generally remind yourself to be more diligent with your oral hygiene. You would also visit your dentist for a scaling and polishing, which generally solves the problem. It can be confusing for parents when their toddler begins to experience bleeding gums. Surely they're not yet old enough to be affected by gingivitis? But if it's not in fact gingivitis, why are your toddler's gums bleeding?
Gingivitis in Toddlers
Gingivitis doesn't discriminate by age, and the very fact that your toddler hasn't had their teeth for especially long doesn't mean that they're immune to the condition. So your toddler's bleeding gums can conceivably be the result of gingivitis. The treatment is broadly the same as for adults, and it's simply a case of visiting your family dentistry provider for a professional cleaning (scaling and polishing). This removes the problematic plaque and tartar, reversing the condition. However, gingivitis can easily return without proper care, so it can be helpful to ask your dentist if your toddler's oral hygiene habits are adequate for their age.
Lack of Hydration
Gingivitis is the likely culprit for bleeding gums in toddlers, but there can certainly be other possible causes. Nocturnal mouth breathing can cause mouth dryness, making the gums more vulnerable to bleeding, as the gingival tissues aren't adequately hydrated. Nocturnal mouth breathing might be the result of a temporary issue (such as allergies or an inflammation of the tonsils). However, nocturnal mouth breathing can also be caused by the misalignment of your child's bite, which could indicate that orthodontic treatment might be needed.
Bleeding gums in toddlers can also have a far more innocent cause. Be mindful that your child isn't chewing on any foreign objects which might be aggravating their gingival tissues, as the bleeding might be caused by simple superficial tissue damage. It's just a matter of noting the behavior and encouraging your child to break the habit.
In any event, bleeding gums in toddlers should be investigated by a dentist, especially if the bleeding appears to intensify. The reason for the bleeding is unlikely to be serious, but appropriate action should be taken to correct the problem.
For more information, contact a local family dentistry clinic.