When a child has a sore gum hurt or cheek, parents almost always attribute this to the teething of milk teeth or their replacement with permanent ones. At the same time, serious pathologies that require immediate medical intervention are often missed. Is it possible to distinguish one from the other at home, the question is complex. The dentist must still determine the source and its danger to the health of the baby and prescribe pain medication.

gum disease in children

Causes of gum disease in children

First of all, gingivitis appears as a result of improper or insufficient oral hygiene. Such a problem can appear even in very young children who have only a couple of incisors in their mouths.

To many parents, the very idea of brushing a barely erupted tooth seems silly, so the purchase of a brush is postponed indefinitely. At the same time, the baby begins to receive the first complementary foods, which means that an excellent field for the reproduction of a variety of bacteria is provided.

Symptoms of the inflammatory process are not much different from the eruption. The mucous membrane also swells, reddens, and itches actively, so it is easier for mom and dad to attribute whims to the appearance of adjacent teeth than to think about the onset of the disease.

On the other hand, just at the moment of intensive cleaning, the delicate area can be damaged. The wrong choice of toothbrush or floss is enough to cause physical damage that bacteria can easily enter.

Gum disease in children: what causes pain

The most common cause of pain in babies is the eruption of new teeth. But if the problem is caused by poor hygiene, then pretty soon the inflammation will become just one of the many symptoms that the doctor will have to treat. Diagnosis is not difficult in most cases. It is enough for a specialist to take a glimpse of the oral cavity in order to understand what kind of pathological process has been launched.


In the event that the gum is swollen and sore in a child in the first or second year of life, this mucosal lesion will be the most likely disease. Most often, it is infectious or viral in nature, for example, it is caused by the herpes virus. In addition to the membrane covering the alveolar part of the upper and lower teeth, the disease often affects the inside of the lips and cheeks.

Outwardly, the problem manifests itself as small white bubbles, which are painful and prevent the baby from eating normally. An increase in body temperature is also very likely, which is why parents often define the child’s condition as a banal SARS and do not take proper measures to eliminate the cause of the inconvenience.

Stomatitis requires mandatory treatment for medical dental care. Antiviral and sometimes antibacterial drugs are prescribed for treatment, and given the early age of the patient, their dosage is extremely important. If you let the disease take its course, it will spread far beyond the oral region, affecting the internal organs.

Acute catarrhal gingivitis

In this case, we are talking about an inflammatory process caused by the formation of a microbial plaque on the mucous membrane. Usually, it does not exist on its own but as a consequence of another infectious disease, such as chickenpox. It is because of this problem that the gums can often hurt in a child of 4-5 years old.

gum infection in child treatment

Why is this happening? Basically, because the immune system has already given all its strength to the treatment of more severe and dangerous chickenpox for it, it has weakened greatly and missed the bacteria that have entered the body. They can get into the oral cavity in different ways, but most often the fault is poorly washed hands before eating and poor dental hygiene. Among the symptoms of the disease, the most unpleasant can be called:

  1. Pain while eating and drinking.
  2. Bleeding (often not in one specific place, but throughout the mucous membrane).
  3. Puffiness.
  4. Increased plaque deposits between the teeth and gums and, as a result, an unpleasant odor.

As in the case of stomatitis, with an acute manifestation of the disease, it is imperative to contact a dentist. The patient undergoes complex antiviral and antibacterial therapy with complete sanitation. If the problem is ignored, the tissues holding the teeth will be greatly weakened, which means that there is a high risk of losing them, not only milk ones but also permanent ones in the future.

Purulent gingivitis

This form of the disease is somewhat less common than catarrhal, mainly as a complication. In this case, a particularly putrid smell is added to the symptoms listed above, the color of the mucous membrane approaches cyanotic, and when pressed on it, pus is released in addition to blood. If the child’s gums are inflamed and sore because of this disease, the visit to the dentist should not be postponed even for a single day. Immediate medical intervention is required, often surgical.

Septic treatment of the oral cavity, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics, are used as treatment. Given the early age of the patient, it is important to accurately calculate the dosage and complete the course of therapy, even if the symptoms are significantly weakened or completely disappeared. Otherwise, the disease will almost certainly turn into a chronic form of periodontitis, which carries with it even more dangerous consequences.


There is an opinion that this problem leads directly to toothache, but in fact, if a child has upper or lower gum pain, this may be due to the destruction of that part of the tooth that is in direct contact with the mucous membrane. The fact is that the milk series, in principle, is not very strong, the enamel is quite thin and quickly becomes covered with plaque or stone. Why is it not noticeable to parents? Yes, simply because damage can start from a poorly visible part. For the same reason, insufficient hygienic treatment is carried out here.

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Accompanied by caries and another nuisance, mostly psychological. Remembering their unpleasant and even painful sensations during the treatment of caries, mothers and fathers simply refuse to take the baby to the doctor, because sooner or later the milk incisors and fangs will change, and the problem will be solved by itself. This is wrong. The place for the germination of a permanent incisor, canine will suffer greatly, which means that it will become much more difficult to keep them in their place. Therefore, if a child has a sore gum over a tooth, it is worth going to an appointment and making sure that the localization of the disease is correctly determined.


As mentioned earlier, most often it is the result of undertreated gingivitis in early childhood and preschool age. Literally, everything has a value for its development:

  1. Features of oral hygiene.
  2. Hormonal background.
  3. Disorders in the work of the immune system.
  4. Taking any medications.
  5. An unbalanced diet and, as a result, an insufficient amount of vitamins and minerals in the body, and much more.

The problem becomes apparent during the change of milk teeth to permanent ones, and therefore the disease is inherent in younger students. If the gums hurt in a child of 6, 7, or 8 years old, the probability that it was caused by periodontitis is very high.

In addition to the obvious inflammatory process and bleeding, the disease is manifested by excessive tooth mobility and a change in the color of the mucous membrane. Sometimes the temperature rises, and there is a general weakness, fatigue. Treatment is prescribed depending on the extent to which the lesion has developed. Usually, complete sanitation of the oral cavity is carried out, and antibiotics and other drugs are prescribed. Sometimes braces are required.

Associated symptoms

If the child’s gums are swollen and sore, and a milk tooth is already clearly felt through it, parents can help the baby cope with the pain by rubbing anesthetic ointments. But teething is often a protracted process, so, at different intervals, pathology can torment children without obvious signs like redness or inflammation. Even in this case, you can understand the cause of the baby’s bad mood by additional signs:

  1. Change in appetite (usually less because chewing becomes painful).
  2. Poor superficial sleep.
  3. Irritability and moodiness.
  4. Increased attention to the nipple (the baby then throws it out, then asks again).

reason of gum swelling in child

If a child of 3 years and older has a sore gum, he will be able to tell about it himself, but a smaller crumb will have to be monitored much more carefully.

If the temperature rises

Such a reaction occurs in almost any cause of inflammation of the mucous membrane, whether it is an infection, periodontitis, or simple teething. But depending on which pathogen became the culprit, the increase varies from 37.5 to 39 degrees. Further actions of parents depend on this indicator.

As long as he stays within sub-febrile limits, it is enough to give as much water as possible. If the child’s gums hurt and the temperature exceeds 38.5 degrees, paracetamol should be given in a convenient form and dosage indicated by age.

Remember that even when the fever goes down quickly and there is no re-increase, you still need to consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Delaying this moment for an indefinite period can lead to unpleasant consequences.

Possible Complications

The most common difficulty against the background of absent or poor-quality treatment of inflammation of the mucous membrane of the jaw is considered to be chronicity. This means that whatever the true cause of the disease, it will turn into a chronic form and will be repeated with every decrease in immunity, a stressful situation.

It is difficult to say how bright the symptoms will remain in this case, and whether they will interfere with normal life. Everybody is unique and deals with problems differently. In some cases, the disease goes away for years, in others, it returns every month.

Another possible complication is the deterioration of the immune system, especially the throat, larynx, nose, and ears. Untreated infections often lead to sinusitis, bronchitis, tracheitis, and other diseases. With age, other internal organs are also affected.

How to treat a child’s gums: basic methods

The medical therapy used depends on the cause of the pain. In the case of banal teething and in the absence of associated complications, doctors manage to prescribe light ointments and gels with an anesthetic effect. They can also educate parents on the proper oral hygiene of the baby, and talk about the possible negative consequences.

In the event that the problem lies deeper, and is infectious in nature, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agents are prescribed. the selection of medicines is strictly individual, there is no universal solution.

If the gum hurts in a child of 9-10 years old, surgical tooth extraction or professional sanitation is possible. Strictly speaking, this option is also applicable for the treatment of preschool children, but dentists try to make the intervention minimal for early childhood so as not to frighten the baby.

Remedies for inflammation of the mucous membrane

We note right away that any medical preparation, even the safest one, has significant contraindications, and therefore, before taking them, it will not be superfluous to consult with the doctor of the Dentika dental center.

But if the question “what to do when the child’s gums hurt” is acute, and there is no opportunity to get to a specialist in the near future, you can try to get by with the most common medicines:

  1. For mild anesthesia and cooling during the eruption, the Kalgel, Dentol, and Cholisal gels are used. They are suitable for the smallest patients and have a fast-acting effect.
  2. For the treatment of the oral cavity with stomatitis, Chlorhexidine, Miramistin, and vitamin A in the oily form are suitable.
  3. When the temperature rises, it is recommended to give the baby an appropriate dose of ibuprofen for his age. It will not only relieve the fever but also anesthetize it.


As soon as possible, take the child to the doctor’s office immediately to rule out complications.

Folk remedies for pain relief

The question of how to treat when the gums hurt in children is familiar to opponents of the use of medicines before being appointed by a specialist. As homeopathic and natural preparations, you can use:

  1. A solution of baking soda or slightly diluted potassium permanganate for antiseptic treatment.
  2. Infusion of chamomile, and sage to reduce soreness.
  3. Ice or chilled soft fruits to relieve puffiness.

Such funds will not produce the proper therapeutic effect, but they will ensure a restful sleep for the baby and parents and will make it possible to wait for the appointed medical appointment.


Instead of thinking about what to smear when a child has sore gum, it is better to prevent the problem. The recommendations for this are the simplest and most easily implemented:

  1. Provide your baby with proper hygiene care from the moment the first tooth erupts, and even better when introducing complementary foods. It is not necessary to use a brush for this, special wipes designed for babies are quite suitable.
  2. Control your diet. A lack of vitamins and minerals will almost certainly lead to negative consequences.
  3. Visit your dentist twice a year to keep problems under control and treat them early.
  4. Teach your baby how to properly brush his teeth without damaging the mucous membrane, and be careful yourself if you carry out the procedure for him. The tissues of the oral cavity in a baby are very delicate and can be damaged even with the softest brush.
  5. If the child is deficient in any vitamins or minerals, consult with a therapist about the appointment of special drugs that support immunity.

Final Remarks on Gum Hurt in Children

Photos of gum disease in children on the Internet often terrify young parents. In fact, a dentist can deal with most problems in just a few days, if you are not afraid to contact him for the most insignificant reason. Take care of your baby’s teeth from birth, and he will appreciate it when he grows up.