Most adults develop canker sores at one time or another. They’re annoying but you deal with them and do what it takes to make them disappear. Children can develop canker sores as well. Different from cold sores, which are contagious, these canker sores can be super annoying to children, especially the littlest ones, and can also be painful, urging the need to address them promptly and efficiently as well as safely.
Instead, canker sores are believed to be a result of one of a number of things. First, diet may play a large part in the formation of canker sores, which are also known as aphthous ulcers. A shortage of folic acid, iron, and B12 in one’s diet is believed to be at least one primary cause.
Sometimes, certain food allergies also cause these ulcers to form.
Mouth injuries can bring them on as well, including biting the inside of one’s cheek or lip. Brushing too hard can also result in an injury that prompts a canker sore, though that is unlikely a cause for small children. Sodium lauryl sulfate, which is found in some toothpastes and mouthwashes, can also be the culprit.
For older children, tweens, and teens, consistent stress can cause canker sores as well, or the sores may indicate an immune system issue. If they consistently appear, the latter should be considered if no other reason can be identified.
The sores usually appear just one at a time, but sometimes they can be in clusters of several in one place. Generally, they are round-ish in shape, usually with a white or yellow coating on the top and with a darker red ring around the edges. They are shallow rather than deep and rarely measure more than ¼-inch in diameter.
A canker sore generally takes about 2 weeks to go away. However, they are most painful during the first several days after they appear. They can make it difficult to eat or drink and some foods and beverages can aggravate them more than others.
For example, acidic foods like tomatoes or orange juice, as well as “scratchy” foods like potato chips, can be quite painful to eat when dealing with canker sores.
If your child’s canker sore(s) don’t go away within that 2 week time period, it’s important to consult your pediatric dentist for further examination.
Most canker sores will go away on their own and there likely won’t be a need to use any sort of topical treatment. However, ibuprofen or another appropriate pain reliever may help lessen your child’s discomfort.
If the sores seem to persist, your dentist or doctor can indeed recommend a topical medicine or even a home remedy that could help make them disappear. Also be sure that your child uses only a soft-bristled toothbrush in the meantime and that they don’t hit the canker sores with the brush while brushing their teeth.
If you are currently a family that sees us here at Anchorage Pediatric Dentistry or you haven’t established a pediatric dental practice for your child, please call us today at (907)562-1003 to set up an appointment today!