The phrase Canker Sore is simply another term for a mouth ulcer. While these sores are not common in babies or toddlers, they do tend to occur in some rare cases. While the specific cause for the ulcers is unknown, there appear to be connections of these sores with genetics, stress, trauma to the mouth (biting the inside of the cheek), food allergies, and viral infections.
How to spot one?
If your toddler seems to be facing a lot of discomforts and you can't identify a particular root cause, take a peek inside your little ones’ mouth to spot any possible ulcers. A Canker Sore is an open sore which looks white-ish or yellow-ish, is round in shape, and generally surrounded by a red ring or enclosed within a red halo. They tend to occur around the inside of the lips and cheek, on the tongue (or under it), gums, or soft tissue of the palate/roof of the mouth.
While they are not a serious problem, they do tend to cause discomfort and pain while your little one is eating, especially if he/she is eating something citric or spicy.
How to deal with one?
To make a Canker Sore or mouth ulcer go away, you just have to be patient as they tend to go away in 7-10 days. There are, however, a few strategies you can try in order to reduce the discomfort felt by your child:
Ice and cold water can help reduce the pain that is felt as a result of the sore. Applying ice directly but gently on the sore can help reduce some of the discomfort or pain that might be bothering your little one.
Avoid food that is rich in spice or citrus, as well as chocolates, as these substances tend to make sores worse as well as heighten the pain felt in sore regions. When it comes to food, also try to feed your toddler bland food until the sore goes away. Additionally, soft food, mashed food, and food that is cut up into small pieces is easier to eat in a way that will cause as less discomfort as possible.
Everything nice (and cold):
Ice pops and frozen food can be another pain reliever when it comes to mouth ulcers. The added benefit is that kids like eating these things which makes it easier to help them numb the pain.
There are several gels and ointments that can be applied on Canker Sores which aim to relieve the pain caused by them. It's advisable to consult a doctor before using these, due to certain substances that they may have and how your child’s body might react to these substances.
If you're feeling less inclined to use an ointment or gel, there are some home fixes that you could try, but always be cautious when doing so. One such remedy is a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water, in equal parts. Dab this gently on the sore and then apply milk of magnesia on the same spot. This helps relieve the pain and heal the sore.
If you feel like your little one is in too much pain or that it isn't going away, consult a health care provider as they will be able to suggest some over-the-counter medicines that can help heal the sore.
Even though Canker Sores are rare in children and babies, does not make them a cause for worry. They do tend to go away on their own without need for intervention. Focus on reducing your little ones’ discomfort instead of worrying about the sore itself.