Canker Sores in Children: How You Can Help Your Kid
Canker sores in children can be very painful at worst, and at best they are a nuisance and will cause discomfort. Your kid may develop them on the inside of their cheeks or on their tongue. The sores can look white or gray colored and they might have a red colored border. These sores can last up to two weeks and are more common in teenagers, but they can develop in children as young as age two.
Are Canker Sores like Cold Sores?
Canker sores are often confused with cold sores which form as blisters on the outside of the mouth, but in fact canker sores are quite different. Cold sores are contagious and are caused by a virus. Canker sores are not caused by a virus and can’t be spread from one person to another so it’s perfectly safe for you to kiss and hug your child when they have canker sores.
What Causes Canker Sores?
It might seem surprising, but nobody’s really sure why canker sores erupt. However their arrival can be connected to emotional stress, to receiving some kind of injury to their mouth, for example if your child bites the inside of their cheeks or is injured by eating or drinking something that is too hot. If your child often has canker sores, it might be connected to a nutritional deficiency, perhaps due to a lack of iron, folic acid or vitamin B-12 or it may even be due to a food allergy.
Is There Any Treatment for Canker Sores?
Minor outbreaks of canker sores don’t usually require any sort of treatment as they will generally clear up on their own in a week or two. However during this time they can be quite painful and sore so your kid may want to avoid spicy or very sour foods or foods with rough edges such as potato chips which could irritate sore areas.
One thing that can help is to have your child rinse their mouth several times each day using a cup of warm water mixed with half a teaspoon of salt, but be sure they spit out the water and don’t swallow it. If your child is too young for this treatment, it’s possible to make a simple mix of baking soda and water which can be applied directly to the canker sore after eating. It’s also worth checking with your local pharmacy to see if they have any over-the-counter remedies that might be helpful and which are appropriate for your kid. Milk of magnesia can also be dabbed onto the sore a few times a day or a more appealing prospect might be to treat your kid to an ice cream to help numb the pain.
When to Seek Professional Treatment
If your kid’s canker sores fail to begin healing within a week or two, contact the Kids Dentistry Center and book an appointment for them with one of our friendly pediatric dentists. We may be able to prescribe something to help and you’ll find Dr. Marina Krepkh, DDS or another of our pediatric dentists can offer advice on preventing future attacks. If your kid has a high fever or trouble swallowing, consult your pediatrician or family doctor as soon as possible.