Can Kids Have Receding Gums?

Jul 2, 2021

Most parents assume receding gums only occur in older adults. Unfortunately, it can happen much earlier than you might think. Whether you’re looking for a diagnosis or treatment, talk to a pediatric dentist in Mill Creek, Mukilteo, or Everett, Washington, at Stellar Kids Dentistry. Our dentists understand how concerning gum recession is in children.

That’s why the team uses the latest technology and techniques to promote the best oral health care for every child. Dental care in children is essential for healthy gums. However, poor oral hygiene isn’t the only reason kids develop gum recession.

Receding gums in children

The causes of receding gums in children aren’t always the same as those in adults. In adults, the most common cause is periodontal disease (gum disease). 

Gum recession in adults

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of adults aged 30 and older have some level of gum disease.

Most adults develop gum recession from:

  • Gum disease
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Diet
  • Tobacco Use

Causes of receding gums in children

While gingivitis in children is possible, it isn’t nearly as common as it is in adults. Instead, receding gums in children typically develop due to:

Irregularly located tooth

An irregularly located tooth can protrude through the gums, lifting and stretching them. As the tooth grows in an improper location, it can cause the gums to pull back. This may leave your child especially susceptible to plaque and bacteria, as well as root exposure. If your little one complains of sensitive teeth or pain, an irregularly located tooth may be the culprit.


Bruxism, or teeth grinding, happens when your child clenches their teeth together. This can ultimately cause gum recession by adding pressure to the teeth and gums. Teeth grinding happens most often at night when your child is asleep.


Some children naturally have an imbalanced ratio of teeth to gum tissue. Unfortunately, this can leave these children vulnerable to periodontal disease and tooth sensitivity.

Aggressive brushing

If your child brushes their teeth aggressively, their gums can become irritated. Over time, aggressive brushing can cause gum recession. 

Signs of receding gums in children

Receding gums gradually expose more of the teeth they protect, but there are other concerning signs that often accompany this dental health problem in children, including:

Since gums protect your child’s teeth from damage, recession can also lead to pain along the gum line.

Treatments for gum recession in children

How the Stellar Kids Dentistry team treats your child’s receding gums depends on the cause. Treatment for gum disease is different from remedying an irregularly located tooth. Common treatments for gum recession in children at Stellar Kids Dentistry include:

Good oral hygiene

If your child’s teeth are still firmly intact, good oral hygiene can help prevent future gum tissue loss. This is especially true if your little one shows early signs of gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. In its early stages, the effects of gingivitis are reversible. Proper oral hygiene habits include:

  • Brushing and flossing twice a day
  • Investing in a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Using mouthwash with fluoride
  • Limiting sugar consumption
  • Eating fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Drinking milk

A dental exam and teeth cleaning once every six months also helps prevent gum disease from worsening.


Treating an irregularly located tooth due to gum recession often requires orthodontics. Palatal expanders give the tooth room to grow into the correct position. Meanwhile, braces can shift the tooth into its proper place.

Tooth extraction

Sometimes, an irregularly shaped tooth does more harm than it should. In this case, your pediatric dentist may recommend a tooth extraction. Once the team locates the tooth through a digital X-ray, this simple procedure removes the entire tooth so your child’s gums can heal.

Night guard

If your child has bruxism, a night guard can prevent their teeth from rubbing together. A night guard is a custom-made device that your little one wears while they sleep. By removing stress from their teeth, the appliance also relieves pressure from the gums.


To schedule an appointment with an experienced kids’ dentist, call Stellar Kids Dentistry or book a visit online today!