Canker sores can be excruciatingly painful, especially if it is experienced by children. It makes eating, drinking, and talking very uncomfortable. So, what are canker sores and how do they affect your child?
What are Canker Sores?
Canker sores which are also called aphthous ulcers are small, shallow and painful lesions that develop on the soft tissues inside the mouth or at the base of the gums. Generally, it occurs on the surface of the lips and inside the linings of the cheeks. The lesions usually appear white, gray, or yellow in color. Canker sores are not contagious but it affects about 20% of people and is one of the most common types of oral lesions.
Most of the canker sores just go away on their own after a week or two. When the canker sores don’t seem to heal, it is best for your child to get checked by your doctor or dentist.
What Causes of Canker Sores in Children?
Doctors don’t exactly know the cause of this sores. But there are possible factors that play a role in the development of this condition. These may include:
- Certain medications
- Food allergies
- Acidic foods
- Viruses and bacteria
- Mouth injuries
- Emotional stress
- Irritation from orthodontic braces
- Toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulphate
- Gastrointestinal tract diseases such as Celiac disease or Crohn’s disease
Children and teens between ages 10 and 19 seem to get sores most often. There is always a possibility that sores come back years after the first outbreak so it is important to always be mindful of the cases listed above.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Canker Sores?
There are signs and symptoms that your child may experience if they develop sores. It is important to note that each child may feel symptoms differently. These are some of the common signs of canker sores that you should look out for:
- Tingling sensation in the mouth
- Red spot or bump that eventually turns white
- Painful sores in the mouth, often inside the lips, the linings of the cheek, or on the tongue
- Difficulty in eating, drinking, or talking
If your child’s canker sores last more than two weeks and are painful that your child already can’t eat or drink, consult a doctor.
No tests are actually needed in diagnosing whether your child has sores or not as it can easily be done by going through your medical history and conducting a physical exam. If your child’s canker sores are more severe, the doctor may recommend performing more tests on your child to determine possible nutritional deficiencies, immune system deficiencies, allergies or other related conditions.
How Do You Treat a Canker Sore in a Child?
As mentioned earlier, most canker sores heal on their own after a week or two. However, you can help relieve your child’s pain through over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Before doing so, make sure that you ask your doctor first. You can also follow these tips to help make canker sores less painful for your child.
- Avoid eating foods that may irritate your child’s mouth. These might include acidic fruits such as pineapple, oranges, and grapefruits. Abrasive foods such as nuts and potato chips should also be avoided.
- Let your child drink cold liquids, such as water or iced tea. As much as possible, use a straw in order to keep the liquid from touching the canker sore.
- Cut food into small pieces so that your child can easily chew and swallow food. If you can provide soft and bland such as cream soups, macaroni and cheese, oatmeal, yogurt, pancakes, steamed vegetables, then it would be better. Avoid preparing foods with heavy seasoning or spicy sauces.
- Put ice on the area of the canker sore to reduce the pain.
- Let your child use a soft-bristle toothbrush. Ensure that your child brushes his or her teeth carefully.
Canker sores can be very painful for your child. You need to look out for the signs and symptoms listed above to ensure that proper care and medication will be given to your child.