Canker Sore Treatment for Children

The Facts about Canker Sores

A canker sore is an ulcer inside the mouth or lip. It's usually a raw white or yellow spot with a reddish border, and it may sting when it comes into contact with something that has a high acidity level such as orange juice or ketchup, or something salty like potato chips or pretzels.

No one knows exactly what causes a canker sore, but there are a few things that are thought to increase your child's risk. This can include being under great stress, not eating a balanced diet, or even brushing her teeth too hard or biting the inside of her lip. 

Heredity can also play a role in making someone more susceptible to canker sores. But even if your child does get one, the good news is that a canker sore isn't harmful or contagious─it's merely an uncomfortable inconvenience.

Once your child has a canker sore (or multiple canker sores, since sometimes two or three will occur at once), there is no way to make it suddenly go away. Instead, it has to heal on its own, but there are some things you can do to help it along the way.

Canker Sore Treatment

If your child is suffering with a canker sore, keep in mind that the first few days often feel the worst. After that, the discomfort will begin to go away. Please review some canker sore treatment suggestions on how to lessen the pain.

  • An effective canker sore treatment is to have your child rinse her mouth with a liquid antacid or water and salt mixture. This can be repeated several times throughout the day.
  • Encourage your child to eat soft foods that won't irritate the sensitive area and steer clear of anything too crunchy or spicy.
  • Offer her cold options like popsicles, ice cream and milk shakes, which can be soothing and may offer some relief.
  • You can also give acetaminophen or ibuprofen if the pain is interfering with your child's activities or keeping her up at night. Follow the dosage information listed on the bottle for your youngster's age and weight.
  • If the canker sore doesn't seem to be going away after about two weeks, or seems to be getting worse instead of better, check with your pediatrician to be sure no other health problems exist.

Other Causes of Mouth Ulcers

While most mouth ulcers are caused by canker sores, it's also important to know that in young children (typically age 5 and under), a condition called Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease could be the cause of multiple sores. Or, the Herpes Virus could also be to blame. If you suspect either of these conditions, always get a medical opinion.




American Academy of Family Physicians

Children's Hospital/Denver

Kids Health/From Nemours