What is a Canker Sore?

A canker sore is a type of small shallow ulcer that develops inside the mouth. These sores can develop anywhere so it’s possible to have a canker sore on the gum or to get a canker sore on the tongue. Not surprisingly canker sores can make eating and talking uncomfortable. Although there are two different types of cankers sores, children tend to be affected by what are called simple canker sores. These can occur three or four times a year and will last up to a week. They are most common in children and young adults aged between 10 and 20.

What Causes Canker Sores?

It isn’t exactly clear why canker sores develop but it is thought stress or injury to the soft tissues in the mouth may be to blame for simple canker sores. It could be that a child has a sharp edge on a tooth that is irritating the inside of their mouth. Canker sores may be caused by an ill-fitting brace that is perhaps rubbing or which has a loose wire that irritates the oral tissues. Another possible canker sore cause could be due to a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Sometimes a deficiency of vitamin B-12, iron, zinc or folic acid could increase the risk of a child developing a canker sore. It is also worth considering that this condition is sometimes due to an impaired immune system or another underlying health condition such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease.

How to Get Rid of Canker Sores

The pain and discomfort of a canker sore generally reduces within a few days and canker sores will usually heal within a week or two. Most canker sores won’t require any specialized treatments but if the sores are particularly large or painful or slow to heal then it’s worth contacting us as we may prescribe an antimicrobial mouthwash,or can provide a prescription or recommend an over-the-counter product to help reduce the irritation and pain. Sometimes corticosteroid ointment can be useful.

When to Get Professional Help

You should definitely contact our dental office if your child has unusually large canker sores or they seem to be spreading. Contact us if the sores last for more than three weeks or if a child develops a high fever or has difficulty drinking fluids. Otherwise there is no real canker sore treatment and it is simply a matter of waiting for the body to heal itself.

Preventing Canker Sores

There is no cure for canker sores although it’s likely the frequency will decrease as your child gets older. You might find you can reduce the frequency of attacks by helping your child to avoid particularly spicy foods or highly acidic fruits and vegetables. Make sure they have regular checkups so we can ensure they don’t have any rough edges on their teeth or on a brace that could cause an attack.