Toddler care: What to do for canker sores?

Canker sores not only affect adults, but also young children. In most cases affecting toddlers, the child complains of pain in his/her mouth or has difficulty eating or opening the mouth.

Once you notice a small-sized, white or reddened ring on the interior of the lips or the gums, the child might have a canker sore. The canker sores are typically harmless and do not require medical care. As long as allowed by the doctor, home remedies can be used to minimize the pain of the canker sores as well as hasten the healing process.

Causes of canker sores

The canker sores are not contagious; thus the toddler should not acquire one by sharing a pacifier or drink. In case the child bites or slices it with a fork, the cut can become infected and cause the development of the sores. Canker sores can also be triggered by stress or sensitivity to a toothpaste used. In rare circumstances, the sores can be triggered by celiac disease, Crohn’s or HIV/AIDS.

Management of canker sores

The canker sores of a toddler usually vanish within 10 days. There are some foods including acidic such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, spicy foods specifically chili and hot sauce that can worsen the sores.

Canker sores

Once you notice a small-sized, white or reddened ring on the interior of the lips or the gums, the child might have a canker sore.

Provide the child with liquids using a straw to keep the sore from getting irritated. In case the sores cause intense pain, set an appointment with a doctor. The doctor might recommend the application of a teething cream directly on the sore to momentarily numb the area.

Preventive measures

In some circumstances, brushing with toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate which is a foaming agent might trigger the development of canker sores. If the toddler develops frequent episodes of sores, the doctor might recommend using an alternative toothpaste.

Toothpastes that do not contain sodium lauryl sulfate are already available. If the child has sensitivity to the component, brushing with a new toothpaste can help eliminate the sores for good.

Considerations to bear in mind

In rare circumstances, the canker sores might indicate a serious medical condition or an infection. If the sores of the toddler do not seem to subside within 2 weeks, a doctor should be consulted.

Even if the sore just appeared, set an appointment with the doctor if there are accompanying symptoms such as rash, fever, swollen glands, sore throat or other pain in the mouth. If the child could not drink or eat due to the pain of the sores, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.


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