How Blood Disorders Can Affect Your Child's Gums

If your child has a blood disorder, he or she may exhibit pallor, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, and weakness. In addition to these, certain blood disorders can also cause unusual signs inside the mouth. Here are some ways a children's dentist may suspect a blood disease simply by performing an oral examination:

Gum Pallor

In addition to facial pallor, certain blood disorders can cause gum pallor. This means that instead of a healthy pink, your child's gum tissue may appear grey or almost white. This can be related to thrombocytopenia, which refers to a low level of blood platelets.

When the platelets are too low, internal-bleeding risk rises. If the child loses too much blood as a result of this platelet disorder, the gums will lighten, as might the lining of the cheeks, the surface of the tongue, and the floor of the mouth.

In addition to thrombocytopenia, other blood disorders that may lead to oral paleness include iron-deficiency anemia, a low hemoglobin count, and low hematocrit. Once the blood abnormality has been corrected, the gums and other soft tissues in the mouth may regain their normal color. It is important to note that while gum paleness can be the result of anemia or a platelet disorder, it may also be associated with oral hydrogen-peroxide rinses and tooth-bleaching strips.

Excessive Bleeding

Another possible sign of a blood disorder is gum bleeding. While mild bleeding of the gums is common when brushing and flossing the teeth, especially if your child has gingivitis, heavy bleeding or bleeding that fails to stop may be a sign of a blood disorder.

If your child's gums bleed profusely while the dentist is using a dental probe or other instruments, the dentist may refer the child back to his or her physician for further evaluation and treatment.

The pediatrician may order a complete blood count to evaluate the platelets, iron stores, and hemoglobin. If one or more of these levels are low, treatment will be initiated. Once the blood disorder has been effectively treated, bleeding gums will probably resolve as well. 

If your child's gums or other oral tissues become pale or discolored, or if he or she develops excessive bleeding of the gums, make an appointment with a children's dentist. If a problem with the blood is suspected, work with both the dentist and physician to develop an effective treatment plan to resolve the blood disorder, which will help your child regain optimal oral health.