Canker sores, also known as an aphthous ulcers, are small sores in the inside of the mouth along the gum line. Canker sores should not be confused with cold sores, which occur on the outside of the mouth or around the lips and are contagious. Canker sores can occur in children or adults and can be painful. If your child has developed a canker sore, consistent treatment and patience can bring relief.
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Prepare an antiseptic rinse and demonstrate for your child how to rinse out his mouth. Mix 1 tsp. of salt, 1 tsp. of baking soda or 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide with 1/2 cup of water. An antiseptic rinse helps remove any bacteria from your child's gum line and reduces irritation on the gums. If possible, have your child rinse his mouth 3 to 4 times per day, preferably after eating. If your child has several canker sores, or if his gums are severely irritated, his pediatrician can prescribe a medicated mouth rinse to relieve the pain and irritation.
Mix 1 to 2 tbsp. of baking soda with approximately 1 tbsp. of water to make a paste. Apply this paste to the sore on your child's gum. Doing so adds a protective layer to the gums and helps prevent irritation. Applying a small amount of milk of magnesia can yield the same results.
Apply an over-the-counter numbing agent, such as Anbesol or Orajel, to your child's gums to treat pain. Apply 3 to 4 times per day or as needed, when pain occurs.
Refrain from feeding your child foods that are abrasive, acidic or spicy. These foods include hot cereals, crackers, foods or beverages that contain citrus and foods that have spicy sauces or a significant amount of spice on them. Avoid these foods until the canker sore heals to help alleviate the tenderness and pain.