Owie! What’s that whitish sore in my child’s mouth? Canker sores are small ulcerations that occur in specific regions of the mouth. Unlike cold sores, they are not contagious or the result of a viral infection. Though they tend to be mild, some children may require medical attention for these sores.
While canker sores can be irritating for your child, they typically do not pose significant health issues. Learn more about canker sore symptoms, how to treat canker sores, and more. Book an appointment now!
What Is A Canker Sore?
Canker sores are small, painful, white ulcerations in the mouth that often start with a tingling sensation. This is followed by the appearance of a red bump or spot that turns white. These sores commonly appear on the tongue, inside the cheeks, and lips, and can cause mild to severe discomfort. The presence of canker sores can make speaking, eating, and drinking difficult for children.
It’s important to note that canker sores are distinct from cold sores, which are caused by a virus and located outside the mouth, around the lips, cheeks, chin, or inside the nostrils. Unlike canker sores, cold sores are contagious. However, canker sores are not contagious.
What Do Canker Sores Look Like?
Most canker sores present as circular or oval-shaped with a pale yellow or white center and a red surrounding edge. They usually develop on or beneath the tongue, within the cheeks or lips, near the base of the gums, or on the soft palate.
Canker Sore Causes
The exact cause of canker sores is unknown. However, various factors are believed to increase the likelihood of developing these sores. A deficient diet lacking in vitamins such as folic acid, B12, and iron has been linked to a higher frequency of canker sores, as well as food allergies.
Injuries within the mouth, such as biting the inner lip or overzealous brushing, can also trigger canker sores. The ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), commonly found in toothpastes and mouthwashes, has also been associated with canker sores.
Additionally, emotional stress can also play a role in the development of canker sores. A study of college students revealed that they were more likely to experience canker sores during times of high stress, such as exam season.
Canker sores are commonly seen in young adults, especially those in their teens and early twenties. Women are twice as likely to develop canker sores as men. Some girls and women report experiencing canker sores during the start of their menstrual cycles.
Canker Sore Symptoms
Canker sore symptoms vary between every patient. Here are the most commonly observed symptoms:
Canker sores typically heal within a period of 7 to 14 days and may recur.
How To Treat Canker Sores
Can canker sores be cured? Treatment for canker sores is not always necessary, as some may resolve on their own over a period of several weeks. However, your dentist can suggest methods to alleviate any pain or discomfort that your child may be experiencing. These may include avoiding spicy or salty foods that could irritate the sores and using a toothbrush with soft bristles.
If a canker sore persists for several weeks or repeatedly recurs, it is advisable to consult a doctor or dentist. They may prescribe topical medication, a special mouthwash, or a home remedy to facilitate healing.
To ensure that the medication is effective, it is important to dry the affected area with a tissue. Apply a small amount of medication using a cotton swab and instruct your child to refrain from eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes to prevent washing away the treatment.
Canker Sore Treatment In Lake Stevens, Smokey Point & Snohomish, WA
If your child’s canker sores persist or do not show improvement after several weeks of treatment, you should contact Milestone Kids Dentistry to learn how to treat them. Our friendly and welcoming staff is dedicated to making you and your child feel at ease in our kid-centric office. Schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentistry experts today!