Can Babies Get Gum Disease?

Posted on: February 28, 2023 | Blog

Many parents may wonder, can babies get gum disease? Since baby teeth are temporary and babies don’t consume the same foods as adults, it can lead some to take their baby’s dental health for granted. Let’s take a closer look at gum disease and how this affects infants.

Can Babies Get Gum Disease?

Can babies get gum disease? Yes, babies can get gum disease, just like adults. Regardless of their age, bacteria can cause gum disease at any time. But how does this happen? And how can it be prevented?

What is Gum Disease?

Understanding what gum disease is can help parents prevent their children from getting gum disease. Gum disease, also called periodontitis, occurs when pathogens attack the gums. When these bacteria, viruses, and other organisms attack, the body reacts with inflammation. Inflammation is redness, swelling, pain, and heat around the affected area. This reaction is the body’s attempt to fight the pathogens, but it’s usually how we can visibly identify an infection.

When pathogens attack the gums and inflammation occurs, we call it gum disease. If the harmful microbes continue to multiply, the tissues may start to die. The bacteria can also spread to other areas, and cause more damage. In adults, bacterial infections can spread to tooth roots and cause tooth infections or the tooth root can even die.

How Can Babies Get Gum Disease?

Babies can get gum disease in many of the same ways as adults. Bacteria or viruses enter the mouth by eating, drinking, or even breathing. Whereas adults typically drink water throughout the day and brush at least twice, we are rinsing and cleaning bacteria off our teeth regularly. Adults also don’t eat or drink during the night while we are sleeping. Babies on the other hand usually do not frequently drink water and are sometimes also sent to bed with a bottle of milk or formula that they may drink from throughout the night. Since babies don’t understand how germs work, they may also put objects covered in germs into their mouths. If bacteria from these sources are not cleaned away, gum disease can develop.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

For adults, brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is the best way to prevent gum disease. For babies the process is similar. Since babies don’t get their first teeth until six months to a year old, this process looks a bit different. Parents don’t need to worry about flossing their baby’s teeth until the child has teeth that neighbor each other.

Before the child gets their teeth, parents can clean their baby’s gums with a damp cloth or a soft-bristled toothbrush. When the baby gets their teeth, a soft-bristled toothbrush will help remove plaque. This will help to avoid childhood tooth decay and also help to prevent gum disease in infants. Cutting down on bottle drinking from the crib can also help prevent gum disease. Rather than leaving a bottle with your baby to feed from throughout the night, try feeding before putting baby down and using a warm rag to gently wipe his or her mouth before settling baby into the crib for sleep.

Bringing your child to the dentist at an early age can also help detect and prevent gum disease. A child should visit the dentist for the first time within six months of getting their first tooth. If there is any risk of gum disease or tooth decay at this early age, your dentist can help prevent it.

Effects of Gum Disease in Babies

Gum disease can have serious effects on infants. As previously mentioned, gum disease occurs when bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens multiply in a focused area. This can cause infection and tissue death. If the infection isn’t treated, it can cause serious illness. Gum disease in babies can also affect the other teeth that are still underneath the gums. This can cause tooth decay in baby teeth, which can ultimately affect how adult teeth form and appear.

Make an Appointment For Your Child Today

If you’re concerned about gum disease or tooth decay affecting your child’s teeth, make an appointment with your dentist today. Your dentist can tell you if your child is at risk for gum disease or tooth decay, and give you more specific strategies to stop these conditions from getting worse. If you live in the Las Vegas, Laughlin, or Henderson area, make an appointment with a BDG dentist today.


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