Mouth Ulcers and Your Child
Seeing an ulcer in your child’s mouth can be disconcerting, especially if the sore causes pain. A relatively common condition, mouth ulcers in children typically are either canker sores, cold sores (caused by the herpes simplex virus) or hand-foot-mouth (HFM) disease (caused by the Coxsackie A-16 virus). The first step in helping your child deal with mouth ulcers is diagnosing the underlying cause.
Canker sores—one to three small, white ulcers that usually pop up on the inside of cheeks and lips, as well as on the tongue and gums—are the most common mouth ulcers in general but are rare in children under the age of 10. There’s evidence that heredity might play a role in the development of canker sores. Other culprits are vitamin deficiencies, stress and food sensitivities. While canker sores can last up to two weeks, they aren’t contagious. There’s not much anyone can do about them other than trying home remedies.
If your child is prone to canker sores, you can try to reduce outbreaks by avoiding abrasive, salty, spicy or acidic foods; choosing dental products without sodium lauryl sulfate, a chemical that has been linked to canker sores; and brushing with a soft-bristled brush to minimize trauma to the mouth. If canker sores become a chronic problem, we may also recommend testing for food allergies or vitamin deficiencies.
If your child suddenly develops numerous mouth ulcers accompanied by fever, it might be cold sores or HFM disease. Since these viral conditions are contagious, call your pediatrician if you suspect your child has one or the other.
As long as no underlying health issue needs to be addressed, caring for a child with mouth ulcers is all about comfort. Ask us about home treatments like baking soda salves, as well as over-the-counter analgesics for pain. Offer a soft diet, and make sure your child stays hydrated. And, as always, if you have any questions or concerns, or if you think your child’s ulcers might be related to a dental problem, don’t hesitate to call us and schedule an appointment at KiDDS Dental.
Click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jared. Or give us a call at (509)-891-7070.