8 Ways To Treat A Canker Sore In A Child

How do you treat a canker sore in a child

Canker sores is not contagious, but it’s very painful. If you have suffered from canker sores before, you should know how it hurts. It is quite surprising just how much those small sores can hurt. They can hinder you the pleasure of eating, swallowing and even talking. In this article, we are going to look at some of the ways to treat a canker sore in a child.

Canker sores in children

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcer, appears like painful blister on the different parts of the mouth. A canker sore is a small ulcer inside the mouth. The sores are usually painful, small and rounded, and may appear white or grey with red edges. They often develop on the soft parts of the mouth, such as inside the cheeks, on the lips, on the surface of the gums, and under the tongue.

Canker sores in children can be caused by a variety of issues. Even though, the sores are not contagious, they do tend to run in families. Deficiencies of certain nutrients, especially Vitamin B12, zinc, folic acids and iron are common cause of canker sores in children. Certain medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can also lead to frequent occurrence of canker sores. Also, children who suffer from food sensitivities and allergies are at a higher risk of developing canker sores, because the reactions will always upset the immune response in their mouth.

In addition, minor injuries to oral tissues as a result of an injury to mouth or aggressive brushing can also lead to canker sores.

How do you treat a canker sore in a child?

Naturally, canker sores are not contagious and usually heal on their own after few days. But it’s never a good thing if your child has frequent canker sores. Although, canker sore is not a sign of anything serious. Watching your little one in pain and discomfort can make you feel bad, and even sleepless. Both adults and children can have canker sores, it can cause severe pain when you eat or talk.

Luckily, there are simple remedies that helps in reducing the discomforts and also speeds up the healing process as well as prevents infection. Here are some of effective ways to get rid of canker sores:

1. Saltwater Rinse 

Salt water is an effective natural disinfectant that contains a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. It’s a great natural remedy for canker sores. But it is important to know that this particular remedy is only for older children who are not likely to swallow the rinse. To prepare a salt water rinse, you will need to get a teaspoon of salt and a glass of warm water.

Dissolve the salt inside the warm water, and give your child to swish around in his mouth for 30 seconds. He should spit it out and then rinse with clean water after. The saltwater will help to relieve your child’s pain as well as speed up the healing process.

2. Over-the-counter gel 

There are lots of over-the-counter medications available, some are in the form of gel or paste. It’s advisable to visit your pediatrician, he or she may prescribe a suitable topical medicine for your child’s canker sores. The recommended over-the-counter medication gel or paste can be applied directly to the canker sore.

Sometimes, special patches or bandages are also placed over the canker sore after the gel has been applied. These medications will help to speed up the healing and also protect the sores from irritation.

3. Vitamin B-12 supplements

Your child will continue to have canker sores very often if he is lacking vitamin B-12 from his diet. A doctor may need to do some tests to look for possible nutritional deficiencies. Deficiencies in some nutrients such as folic acid, iron and vitamin B-12 can be corrected with dietary changes or prescription vitamin supplements.

You should talk to your doctor, he can help you to understand this better. Moreover, a study showed that frequent taking of vitamin B-12 supplement can reduce the amount of pain from the canker sores and the number of ulcers experienced in children.

4. Zinc Supplements

Zinc supplements can be a great option, if your child is suffering from canker sores on a regular basis. Zinc deficiency can equally lead to cancer sores. According to a study, it was reported that taking zinc supplements will reduce canker sores by between 50 to 100 percent. These supplements will help to heal your child’s canker sores as well as prevent occurrence of the disease. But before then, it is very important to consult with your doctor or dentist for recommendations, there may be need for tests.

5. Mouthwash

If your child has canker sores that last longer than 2 weeks or can’t eat or drink because of the pain. There are effective mouthwash that you can buy or make at home to help heal the sores and provide relief from pain. Mouthwashes with great antiseptic properties are effective for fighting canker sores. They help in the healing and also prevents infection.

It’s always advisable to go for natural alternative. Now, I will give a list of effective home remedies to treat canker sores in children. I will also show you how to prepare this remedies at home yourself.

Home remedies to treat canker sores in a child

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera gel is very effective for fighting canker sores and skin problems. According to Nccih.nih.gov, there is a limited scientific evidence on the benefits of aloe vera for canker sores, but it’s safe for use. If you have access to the aloe vera plant, cut out a leaf and extract the gel. Remember, most kids detest aloe vera gel because of the taste, you should be gentle.

Use some cotton balls and apply the aloe vera gel directly to the sores. The gel is very effective for treating canker sores, because it contains active anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and healing properties.

Basil or Tulsi Leaves

Basil leaves and Tulsi leaves are both the same thing. Basil leaves is used in salads, pizza and for producing traditional medicines for treating mouth ulcers. The leaves is popular for its numerous health benefits, studies has shown that it contains strong anti-bacterial and antimicrobial properties.

You’ll need to get some fresh basil leaves and add it in your child’s meal. Alternatively, you can give your child some of the leaves to chew. The juice from the leaves is effective for fighting canker sores, it may also prevent infections.

Clove oil

If the pain and discomforts are too severe for your child, you can relieve the pain quickly with clove oil. The oil contains an active ingredient, eugenol, which acts as a painkiller. In dentistry, clove oil is widely used to relieve tooth pain and fight oral infections. All you need to do is to get some clove oil and apply it directly to canker sores for relief. Get a cotton ball and add about 4 or 5 drops of clove oil on it. Place the cotton ball directly to your child’s canker sore for up to 3 minutes. This remedy will provide an instant pain relief and numb the area. Alternatively, you can make a mouth rinse from the oil.

When to see a doctor

Both children and adults have canker sores. Normally, these sores should go away without treatment. It takes about 2 weeks for canker sores to heal. During this time, the sores can be painful, the first 3 to 4 days are usually the worst.

However, you should take your child to see a doctor if the sores last for more than 3 weeks. Or if it’s causing severe pain and interference with swallowing and talking. At the doctor’s office, the first step to diagnose the problem is by reviewing your child’s medical history and through physical exam. There may also be need to do some blood tests to look for possible nutritional deficiencies (which can be corrected with dietary changes or prescription vitamin supplements).


In the meantime, ensure that your child is always hydrated. I have dealt with an issue like this before. Dehydration can easily lead to another problem such as dry mouth.  If your child develops dry mouth, then canker sores might become more difficult to treat. Ensure that your child stays hydrated, you can try semi-solid or liquid foods if the ulcers are too painful when taking solid foods. Remember, always encourage your child to stay hydrated.

Finally, if the sores are too painful, you can give your child an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Ensure that your child uses only soft-bristle toothbrushes. Keep away abrasive, spicy, salty, and acidic foods from him until he heals.

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