Why Does My Toddler Have Swollen Gums? Should I Be Concerned?

If your toddler’s gums are looking swollen or inflamed, we want you to know what the possible causes may be so you can seek treatment for your little one, if necessary. At Cardinal Family Dentistry, our goal is to keep families healthy and smiling. Here’s everything you need to know if your child  has swollen gums:  


Teething is one of the most common causes of swollen gums in toddlers. If your toddler’s gum swelling is limited to just a few areas of their mouth where it looks like a tooth may be coming out, this is likely the cause of the issue.

Gum swelling, tenderness and inflammation from teething is natural, and nothing to be concerned about. Make sure you’re still brushing your child’s teeth and gums properly to prevent bacterial buildup. As the tooth erupts, the gum area will stop swelling. You only need to contact a doctor if your child develops a fever while teething. 

Improper Oral Hygiene 

If you are not caring for your child’s teeth properly, bacteria and plaque can build up and irritate the gums, causing swelling.

It’s important to brush your child’s teeth and gums at least twice per day. Ideally, you should brush once in the morning and once before bed. Use a rice-sized grain of toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush, and clean every surface of your child’s gums and teeth. 

To help control oral bacteria, avoid feeding your child after their teeth have been brushed. Do not put them to bed with a bottle, and avoid giving them sugary foods and sugary beverages like juice. 


Over time, poor oral hygiene can lead to gingivitis, the most minor stage of gum disease. This bacterial infection is caused by plaque and tartar buildup between the teeth and gums. If it’s left untreated, gingivitis can cause serious damage to your child’s mouth and gums.

However, it is completely reversible if it’s caught early. You will need to come to Cardinal Family Dentistry for a “deep cleaning.” Dr. Sarah S. Barker will use specialized tools to gently remove plaque and tartar from between your child’s teeth and gums, and antibiotics may be used to eliminate any remaining bacteria.

Combined with proper at-home oral hygiene, deep cleaning can completely eliminate gingivitis, and restore your child’s oral health. 

Vitamin Deficiencies/Malnutrition 

This is quite rare, since breastmilk, formula and most baby food are fortified with vitamins. However, it can still occur in some cases. Deficiencies of essential vitamins such as vitamins B and C can cause gum swelling. These vitamins are important for healthy gum tissue. You may need to consult with your pediatrician to make sure your child is getting the nutrients they need.

Concerned About Swollen Gums In Your Child? Come See Dr. Sarah S. Barker Now!

At Cardinal Family Dentistry, we serve Apex, Holly Springs, Cary and New Hill with pediatric dentistry services. As an experienced family dentist, Dr. Sarah S. Barker treats patients of all ages. Contact us now to schedule an appointment for your little one. To get started, you can give us a call at (919) 589-5001, or come to our office at 1481 Chapel Ridge Road, Apex, NC 27502.

Ready to Get Started? Contact Us Now.