Issues in your mouth can be incredibly annoying — probably because most of our basic functions happen via that orifice. Eating, drinking, breathing, talking, you know. Have you ever bitten the inside of your mouth before? Isn’t it incredible how you just keep biting it over and over again and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger? It’s the worst. Canker sores are also the worst. If you’ve noticed your child having issues eating and drinking, you may want to check if that’s the culprit. I asked a pediatrician how to relieve a canker sore in a child, and thankfully, the solution isn’t that hard to do.
So what is a canker sore exactly and how do we get them? Dr. Gina Posner, a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, says we aren’t quite sure how people get them, but sometimes we can get them from a trauma to the area, vitamin deficiencies, or food allergies. So what do canker sores look like and how do you know if your kid has them? “Canker sores, also known as ‘aphthous stomatitis,’ are lesions in the mouth — typically small — round to oval shaped with a rim of redness and a yellowish central area,” she explains. Kidshealth.org noted that they cause trouble with eating and drinking, so that may be a sign to check your child’s mouth to see if canker sores are the culprit if you notice their eating and drinking habits are different.
Canker sores sound pretty gnarly. As far as relieving a canker sore in your kid, Posner suggests “magic mouthwash.” Magic mouthwash “is a combination of diphenhydramine (Benadryl) [and] Maalox. You can paint this on the lesions, or if they are old enough, have them swish it and spit out. Ibuprofen can also be helpful,” Posner says. Westwood-Mansfield Pediatric Associates’ website provided the “recipe,” if you will, for the magic mouthwash, which they said could also be used to help ease the mouth pain that comes along with Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. The website suggested to “mix half a teaspoon of antacid solution (such as Maalox or Mylanta) with half a teaspoon of diphenhydramine solution (liquid Benadryl). Apply some of this solution to the inside of the lips and mouth before feeding, up to six times a day.” The age for the swishing and spitting is 4 years old, according to the website.
Typically, canker sores should only last about seven to 10 days, but if they last longer than that, you should take your kid in to see their pediatrician, as they can be indicative of other issues, including Bechet syndrome, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, HIV, herpes and many others, according to Posner. Kidshealth.org also suggests talking to your child’s pediatrician if your child gets canker sores a lot (more than two or three times a year), or if they’re really severe and painful.
Canker sores are typically no big deal and lots of kids and adults alike can get them. Thankfully, there’s a “magic solution” to help ease the discomfort of these pesky little mouth sores. Good luck and stay vigilant to make sure you don’t need to take your child to the pediatrician.