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What to Do for a Child with Swollen Gums Around their Teeth

young girl lying on bed sticking her tongue out

Your little one comes to you complaining of soreness in their mouth. When you check, you notice they have swollen gums around either a single tooth or a few teeth. There are a few possible causes for a child’s swollen gums. Keep reading to learn these as well as ways you can help your child feel better.

Causes of Swollen Gums

Swollen gums are a fairly common occurrence, though not one that should be taken lightly or ignored, especially in children. The potential causes for your child’s gums swelling around their tooth include:

  • Poor oral hygiene habits. If they don’t brush and floss regularly, food particles can get stuck between the gums and the teeth. The body reacts to these foreign substances with an immune response which causes swelling. Left unchecked, the food particles between gums and teeth break down into bacteria, which infects the gum and can lead to gum disease.
  • Abscessed tooth. An abscessed tooth occurs when a cavity has been left untreated. This cavity allows bacteria to infect the tooth and gums.
  • Injury. If your child has had recent trauma to their face or jaw, their gums could swell temporarily.

These cases where a child’s gums are swollen around their tooth need to be addressed by their pediatric dentist.

Treatments for Your Child’s Swollen Gums

The first and most important step is to make an appointment with your child’s pediatric dentist as soon as possible. They will examine your child’s mouth to determine the cause of the swelling. The dentist will also prescribe an appropriate treatment plan based on the cause.

Before an appointment, there are a few at-home remedies you can employ to help reduce the swelling of your child’s gums around their tooth and ease their discomfort.

Saltwater Rinse

young girl wearing beanie drinking water from a glass

A warm saltwater rinse can help with most oral problems. Mix one teaspoon of table salt with eight ounces of warm water. Have your child swish this in their mouth for approximately 30 seconds to a minute, then spit it out.

The salt helps kill bacteria, while the warm water helps to soothe aches. You can have your child rinse their mouth as many times as they’d like.

Tea Tree Oil Rinse

Similar to saltwater, tea tree oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it an ideal choice to reduce the swelling of a child’s gums around their tooth. However, you should only allow older children to use this treatment, as the oil is potentially harmful if swallowed.

To help soothe your child’s swollen gums, mix three drops of tea tree essential oil into eight ounces of warm water. Have your child swish this mixture two to three times a day for 30 seconds each, then spit it out. It’s a good idea to rinse with plain water again afterward.

Apply a Cold Compress

Press a cold compress gently to your child’s cheek on the side with the swelling. Ice helps reduce inflammation, so to provide relief when your child’s gums are swollen around their tooth, you can also have them hold small chips of ice in their mouths.

Preventing Swollen Gums

smiling young girl looking at camera brushing her teeth

Once your child’s gums are swollen, there isn’t much of a permanent fix that doesn’t involve going to the dentist. Preventing swollen gums in the first place is key.

  • Ensure proper oral hygiene. Make sure your child brushes their teeth thoroughly for an entire two minutes, twice per day.
  • Floss once per day. If your child is old enough, make sure they floss once per day. It’s best to floss before brushing so you remove food particles with the floss then brush them away to help prevent your child’s swollen gums around their tooth.
  • Use a mouthwash. Again, once your child is old enough, the final step in good oral hygiene is to use a mouthwash at least once per day.
  • Regularly visit the dentist. Twice-yearly check-ups are essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Make sure your child sees the dentist at least twice per year for these appointments.

Contact Tooth Fairy Pediatric Dentistry

If your child has swollen gums, contact Tooth Fairy Pediatric Dentistry in Reno, NV. We’re dedicated to providing your family with the highest quality care. Whether your child needs treatment for swollen gums around their tooth, a regular cleaning, or orthodontia, we’re here for you.

Call us at (775) 800-4117 or make an appointment online today.

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