Gums that are sore and swollen are typically a result of teething in babies, and this is best treated with cold things, teething rings or anti-inflammatory medications. Discover other causes for swollen gums with help from a pediatrician in this free video on babies and health care.
Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to be talking about swore and swollen gums in infants. Now this is a relatively common problem. Usually it's associated with teething. We know that babies will get a little fussy with teething. Let me stop here, though, and say do we know if teething really causes a fever? Probably not. Certainly not a high fever. If you tell me your baby has got a fever of 101, 102, or above, I'm not going to blow that off as teething, I want to know what else is going on. Likewise, does teething cause diarrhea? Nobody really knows if teething causes diarrhea. If it's bad diarrhea, more than eight stools a day, certainly if there's blood in the diarrhea, or mucus, that needs to be evaluated by a doctor. I would not attribute that to teething. We just don't know what it does. Teething does, however, almost certainly make the gums uncomfortable and swollen. Sometimes you'll even see sort of a blood blister in the gums before the tooth emerges. So what are you going to do is you see that in your baby? Well, cold things are nice. You can get a sort of gel teething rings that you can keep in the refrigerator. You could use tylenol, you could use ibuprofen. What we don't recommend actually, is the gels that numb up the inside of the mouth. There's a very rare but still real possibility that those gels can cause a problem actually with the red blood cells that would make it difficult for those red cells to carry oxygen to the rest of the body. So it's not something that we really strongly advise anymore. Really something topical and cool is a better idea. Something the baby can chew on. Now there's a different kind of red swollen gums in babies that's very concerning. We call this gingivostomatitis. It's a viral infection of the inside of the mouth. It's most often caused by herpes virus or coxsackie virus, and it is miserable. You'll see little ulcers and spots all over the inside of the mouth, sometimes just in the back, sometimes all over the gums, or even on the lips. They are intensely painful. These babies drool, they often don't want to drink, they certainly don't want to eat, and they have a fever and a runny nose as well. Those babies are probably going to need some help staying hydrated. Again, tylenol, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen, which is in motrin, and motrin, and what else? Advil. Those pain relievers will certainly help. You can also use cool, soothing liquids like cool milk. You can apply antacids to the inside of the mouth. Which ones? Well, I'm thinking of the chalky ones. Maylox, or Milanta will help with that. Or you doctor may prescribe for the baby slightly more complicated solution that's called magic mouthwash. There's a lot of different recipes for it. But the idea is to put something in there to soothe these sores in the mouth and help the baby be able to drink enough not to get dehydrated. So those are some thoughts about sore and swollen gums in your baby, and with some ideas, I'm Dr. David Hill.