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What are Epstein Pearls?

What are the white lumps on your baby’s gums?

Does your baby have small white lumps or patches on their gums and you’re not sure whether they’re teeth?

Epstein pearls, (named after the  Czech physician Alois Epstein who first described them in 1880)  are a type of gingival cyst and appear as small white bumps or nodules on your baby’s gums, or even on the roof of their mouth. They’re usually harmless and will disappear on their own.

         

 

These small harmless bumps can often mimic the signs and symptoms of teething, which is why parents commonly confuse them with emerging teeth. They occur more commonly in newborns but can also occur in older babies. Most are resolved by the time baby is 3 months old.

          

Although their name suggests they're all pearl shaped, not all of them are, and can instead look a little like patches rather than raised lumps and can measure between 1 and 3 mm. The white - to - yellowish bumps are made up of keratin, which is a protein found in skin. They naturally breakdown and disappear on their own with friction from breast or bottle feeding, teething, using a pacifier/soother and general oral sensory stimulation.

There are not normally any other symptoms with the Epstein pearls, but always consult a health professional if your baby seems to be uncomfortable or in pain.