A canker sore is also called an aphthous ulcer and can be painful, affecting adults and children. Most are round or oval-shaped with a red border and a white or yellow center. They can form inside the cheeks or lips, at the base of the gums, or underneath the tongue. Your child may notice they have a burning or tingling sensation a day or two before the sore develops.
If your child gets a canker sore, it may be due to infection, eating specific foods, or because they feel stressed.
It can also occur after they have a dental procedure or their teeth cleaned professionally, or if they happen to bite the inside of their cheek or bite their tongue. Your child may be more sensitive to certain foods or specific ingredients, such as sodium lauryl sulfate found in toothpaste.
Children can develop canker sores as young as age two, but usually, they don’t appear until adolescence.
The most common type is a simple canker sore, and these generally develop between ages 10 and 20, lasting about a week. They may occur up to three or four times a year.
Complex canker sores are rarer, but are more painful and larger and last longer. They can be due to an underlying condition like Crohn’s disease, a condition that compromises the immune system, or vitamin deficiency.
Usually, the pain caused by a canker sore should disappear in a week to 10 days. The canker sore should heal completely between one and three weeks.
Most times, a canker sore will not require any professional dental treatment and should heal by itself. Home remedies can ease the pain and discomfort in the meantime.
If your child has a very large or deep canker sore that fails to improve after two weeks, please contact our pediatric dentists as we can assess the canker sore and may need to prescribe some medicine.
Please also call your doctor or us if your child shows signs of infection such as:
Your child will also need professional dental or medical care if pus begins to drain from the canker sore.
Unfortunately, canker sores often come back again, but if certain foods or ingredients trigger them, avoiding these products could limit their frequency. Call our kids dentistry center for more information on how to treat a canker sore at home
It may not be possible to prevent canker sores entirely, but there are some things you can do to help reduce their frequency. If your child often gets canker sores, make sure they follow a good oral care habit. They may need to brush their teeth after every meal, removing any food debris that could trigger an attack.
Make sure they use a soft-bristled brush to avoid irritating their oral tissues and avoid toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate.
If your child is wearing a brace or another dental appliance, we can check it doesn’t have any sharp edges that could be causing canker sores.
Ensure your child eats a healthy diet with plenty of whole grains and fruits and vegetables. If certain food seemed to trigger canker sores, try to ensure they avoid these foods. Culprits can include acidic fruits like oranges, pineapple, and grapefruit, as well as salty and spicy foods, and pretzels, nuts, and chips.
Pediatric Dentistry Center
2148 Ocean Ave, Ste 401A
Brooklyn, NY 11229