Gum overgrowth, also known as gingival hyperplasia, can cause your child's gums to grow over the tops of the teeth, and sometimes, in-between teeth. It is typically the result of medication side effects, but can also be caused by certain medical conditions. Here are three ways gum overgrowth can affect your child's health and what you can do about them:


Overgrown gums can be painful and bleed profusely upon the slightest touch. This may make your child hesitant to brush and floss effectively. As a result, gingivitis can quickly develop, and if not recognized and treated by a kids dentist, can progress to periodontitis.

This severe form of gum disease can damage the soft tissue of the gums and the bones that support the teeth. At the first sign of gum inflammation, color change, pain, or bleeding, make an appointment with a pediatric dentist. He or she will examine your child's oral cavity and perform a dental cleaning to remove built up tartar and hardened calculus that may have formed under the gum line. 

Dental Decay

Gingival hyperplasia can also raise your child's risk for dental decay. The bacteria that accumulates under overgrown gum tissue can cause cavities, and in extreme cases, tooth loss. If your child has severe gum overgrowth, the dentist may recommend that he or she use a special tooth gel possessing powerful anti-cavity properties.

In the meantime, help your child maintain a meticulous regimen of brushing and flossing, and encourage drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Water helps flush away cavity-causing oral bacteria from the mouth, which minimizes the risk for dental decay. 

Self-Esteem Problems

In addition to oral problems, gum overgrowth can make your child feel ashamed about the condition of his or her teeth and gums. Your child may avoid social interaction with friends and schoolmates, and may even fear that other children will make fun of him or her.

While it is important to seek treatment for gingival hyperplasia because of the negative consequences it has on oral health, it is just as essential to seek treatment because of the negative impact it may have on your child's emotional well-being. After treatment, you child's personality may change for the better as they gain more self confidence. 

If your child has gum overgrowth, see a pediatric dentist on a regular basis. With early intervention and proper treatment, the above consequences may be avoided. Additionally, if the gingival hyperplasia is caused by a medication side effect, talk to your child's pediatrician. He or she may lower the dosage or prescribe a different medication that is less likely to cause gum abnormalities.