Tooth decay is an increasing problem in young children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Oral health problems may cause systemic infection, tooth loss and extreme pain. If your toddler's tooth is bleeding, it might indicate a serious problem with the tooth and surrounding tissue. Check your child's mouth carefully to determine the source of the blood, and contact your pediatrician.
Bleeding Tooth Information
The tooth enamel is a hard outer covering consisting primarily of calcium and other minerals. Dentin is a softer layer of tissue beneath the enamel. These portions of the tooth don't bleed, so blood normally indicates an injury deep in the tooth's pulp or in the gums. Tooth pulp is filled with blood vessels and blood cells, and also contains the nerve.
In most cases, a bloody tooth is caused by injury in the surrounding area. Your child's gums or lips may be bleeding as a result of trauma, irritation or periodontal disease. Children's gums also bleed when they lose baby teeth, and the eruption of permanent teeth may cause bleeding and irritation in surrounding tissue. Some toddlers, especially well-nourished girls, lose their baby teeth very early. When a tooth itself bleeds, it indicates severe dental problems, such as a very deep cavity, broken tooth or dental abscess. Inspect your child's mouth to determine the source of the bleeding. If your child is bleeding from her tooth rather than the surrounding area, contact a dentist immediately.
Treatment depends on the cause of the blood tooth and severity of the injury. If your child's gums are bleeding, she may have irritated them while brushing her teeth. Unless the bleeding is profuse, your child requires no treatment. Trauma to the lips and gums may require stitches and other medical treatments. If your child's tooth is bleeding because of a cavity or abscess, your dentist might prescribe antibiotics, perform a root canal, fill the cavity or remove the tooth. Because toddler baby teeth will be replaced by adult teeth, many dentists choose to remove decayed teeth in children this age.
Bleeding caused by gum disease is best prevented by daily oral hygiene, including flossing and brushing. Supervise your child's oral care habits to ensure she's doing a good job. Sugary snacks and sodas are common culprits in childhood tooth decay. Give your child water, unsweetened juice and fruits instead. Children should begin seeing the dentist around the age of 2, according to pediatrician William Sears.
- "The Portable Pediatrician"; William Sears, M.D., et al.; 2011
- "Caring For Your Baby and Young Child"; American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009
- "Health, Safety and Nutrition for the Young Child"; Lynn R. Marotz; 2011