Your baby will go through many changes as they grow throughout the first few months and
years of their life. Infants typically get their first tooth between the age of six months and one
year, so oral care during this time is essential.
Babies can get gum disease and even experience tooth decay. Here’s why your infant might be
experiencing symptoms of gum disease and what you can do about it.
Lack of Proper Oral Hygiene
If you aren’t regularly cleaning your baby’s mouth, your infant is more likely to get gingivitis, the
beginning stage of gum disease.
Although some health conditions such as type 1 diabetes and Down’s Syndrome make babies
more likely to get gum disease, the culprit is often a lack of oral hygiene. You should be cleaning
your baby’s mouth after every feeding whether or not their teeth have come in yet.
If you’re not cleaning your baby’s mouth regularly, you may see red and swollen gums in your
baby’s oral cavity. If your child is teething and you feel a tooth coming in beneath the gumline,
this may be normal discomfort from teething. If your child isn’t getting a tooth in, seek
professional care to see what the problem is.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Symptoms of gum disease in infants and toddlers are not much different than gum disease in
adults. Signs and symptoms include puffy, swollen gum tissue, red gums, bleeding, and
sensitivity. Your child may be more irritable or cry often as a result of their discomfort.
If you suspect your infant has gum disease, you should schedule an appointment with your
child-friendly dentist as soon as possible to determine what the problem is and to seek
treatment before your child’s mouth is further affected.
How to Prevent Gum Disease in Infants
In order to promote good oral health and prevent gum disease in infants, you must clean their
mouth regularly. Fortunately, cleaning your infant’s mouth after feedings is simple.
If your child doesn’t have teeth yet, a clean, damp washcloth can be used to gently wipe the
gums after feedings.
If your baby has teeth, use a tiny toothbrush with a tiny amount of toothpaste (the size of a
grain of rice) to gently brush their tooth or teeth. It’s not necessary to use toothpaste with
fluoride until your child is in their toddler years.
Once your baby has two teeth that touch together, you can use dental floss to gently floss in-
between the teeth in addition to their regular brushing routine.
Preventing gum disease in infants all comes back to proper oral hygiene. Your dentist can
further advise you on best practices when taking care of your baby’s mouth to stop gum
disease or to treat it once gingivitis has set in. In order to give your baby the healthiest mouth
possible, be diligent about their oral care!