During teething, it's perfectly normal for a baby to experience a mild amount of bleeding of the gums. Other symptoms may include bruising, tenderness, swelling and pain, causing your baby to cry or generally become restless or irritable. You can't do anything to spare your child from the physical process of pointy teeth erupting through tender tissue. However, you can potentially ease the discomfort.
The easiest way to tell if your baby's bleeding gums are related to teething is to inspect the gums for small white spots, or even the tips of teeth, already jutting out. Other symptoms are mostly related to the discomfort of the growing teeth and your baby's reactions. Usually, teething babies want to suck or chew on their fingers or on hard materials. They may rub their gums with their fingers or toys. Other physiological symptoms may include increased drooling and a potential rash from the drool, decreased appetite and a small rise in body temperature.
Healthy Gums and Teeth
If your baby is teething, it's most likely that the normal growth of teeth through the delicate gum tissue is causing the bleeding. However, it's also possible for bacterial growth to cause extra inflammation or bleeding. Once the teeth come through, use a soft baby toothbrush and water to brush the new teeth. Avoid using toothpaste, which babies cannot spit out.
While bleeding gums are often a normal part of the teething process, you can adopt several techniques to ease the attendant pain. Use your finger or a moist and clean piece of gauze to gently massage your baby's gums. Vary the amount of pressure, watching your baby's non-verbal feedback to find the ideal treatment. Provide a firm, rubber teething ring or let your baby suck on a bottle filled with water. Keep the teething ring in the refrigerator, as many babies find the cool temperature soothing. However, do not freeze the ring. Provide chilled foods, such as applesauce, if your baby is eating solid food.
If your baby is demonstrating nothing other than some bloody gums and the typical symptoms of teething, there's no need for alarm. However, if you note other irregularities in behavior, a secondary issue may require medical attention. Contact your pediatrician if your baby doesn't eat for several feedings in a row; goes through an abrupt change in temperament; has a tender or bloody navel or penis; contracts a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher; or experiences diarrhea, constipation, vomiting or dehydration.