Canker sores are not contagious, but they can be uncomfortable. A common problem in children, canker sores are painful mouth ulcers affecting one out of every five individuals.
Medically termed aphthous ulcers, canker sores can be tied to a number of varying factors. However, the actual cause of canker sores remains a mystery. Vitamin deficiencies, food allergies, and even genetics all play a role.
Canker sores can be easily diagnosed by your pediatrician, especially if the sore is recurring. Common symptoms include:
- Small, painful blisters in and around the mouth
- White or yellowish coating with a red outline
- May appear in small clusters
Canker sores in kids may be common, but they are also painful. However, the sores usually heal on their own within two weeks. To alleviate the pain and expedite healing there are several things you can do to help your child if he or she has a canker sore.
If your child experiences canker sores more than two or three times a year with severe pain associated with an outbreak, see your pediatrician for treatment right away.
For less severe cases of canker sores there are a few things you can do, if approved by your child’s doctor:
- Lessen the pain with an over-the-counter pain reliever
- Avoid abrasive foods that can irritate the gums, cheeks, and tongue
- Keep away from foods your child is allergic to
- Avoid spicy, overly salty, and acidic foods
- Gently brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Encourage daily brushing and flossing to limit infection
- Swap out your kids’ toothpaste for a gentler formula with a mild flavor
- Rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash to remove bacteria and aid healing
If your child’s canker sore continues to be a bother, your pediatrician may prescribe a special ointment or mouthwash to use.
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