Canker sores in children can be a pain

Child brushing teethGetting canker sores is a real pain in the butt! And for little kids, they can be painful – making drinking, eating and even brushing teeth a difficult task. One in five people get these uncomfortable mouth ulcers, which can occur inside the mouth, cheeks, lips, throat or even on the tongue. Although these can often be confused with cold sores, they aren’t contagious and usually go away overtime. Here are some ways to avoid these uncomfortable sores or prevent them from coming back.

If you have canker sores, chances are your child will too – they have a 90 percent chance! While luckily they aren’t harmful, no one is really sure where they come from. However, one’s diet is likely to exacerbate the occurrence of them. Children are often very difficult eaters, so getting them to eat food that will prevent canker sores can pose a challenge. These often show up because our diets lack enough vitamin B12, folic acid and iron, and if your child has food allergies, they are even more likely to pop up.

Canker sores can also be caused by minor trauma in the mouth such as a cut in the mouth. So if a child accidentally bites the side of their mouth, it could turn into a canker sore later.

What is a canker sore?

Canker sores come in three different varieties, although the most common is minor. If you notice a small, red spot that can reach up to an inch in diameter – but is commonly much smaller – this is a canker sore! It will feel tingly or burn a little, and over time it will swell up, burst and leave a “open” wound. This can get really sensitive especially when eating citrus or hot foods. Often times it takes about two weeks for a canker sore to heal completely, but it usually will only be bothersome for the first three to four days.

Prevention

If your child is prone to canker sores, you may want to switch their toothpaste to something without sodium laurel sulfate. This is the detergent in toothpaste that makes it foam up, but it actually isn’t good for us. It tends to cause dry mouth, so eliminating this detergent from your child’s regular routine could help with problems later in life. Dry mouth may seem minor, but it can lead to bad breath and other oral health issues later in life.

It is important to make sure your child is practicing good oral hygiene everyday. Some children loathe the time they have to spend in the bathroom brushing and flossing, but getting them used to the habit at a young age will help them greatly later in life. Parents can brush their teeth at the same time as children so they are brushing and flossing for the correct amount of time, and they’ll have a good influence to look up to.

When your child has a canker sore, using a cotton swab with peroxide on it can help kill bacteria and encourage a faster healing process. You can also try a rinse mixture by combining 2 ounces of hydrogen peroxide and 2 ounces of water, or 4 ounces of water with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda. If your child doesn’t like the taste – who could blame them – you can also use a wet black tea bag. Tea contains tannins that will relieve the pain in the sore.

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