Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Canker Sores - Brief Version
What are canker sores?
Canker sores are painful, shallow sores in the lining of the
mouth. They are usually on the inside of lips, inside of
cheeks, and gums. They do not cause fever.
The exact cause of canker sores is unknown. Some may result
from food that gets stuck in the teeth. Others may be due
to forgotten injuries from toothbrushes, toothpicks, rough
foods (such as corn chips), hot foods, or biting of the lips
or cheeks. Herpes simplex causes fever blisters on the
outer lip that come and go but does not cause canker sores
on the inside of the mouth.
How can I take care of my child?
- Pain relief.
To reduce the pain, your child can swish 1 teaspoon of an
antacid solution in his or her mouth for several minutes.
For very young children, put a half teaspoon of antacid
solution directly on canker sores after meals. A child
over age 4 with just one ulcer can put an antacid tablet
on the sore and let it dissolve. Do this three or four
times a day. Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen
(Advil) as needed for pain (especially at bedtime).
Offer a soft, bland diet to reduce the pain. Cold drinks
and milkshakes are especially good. Avoid giving your
child salty foods, citrus fruits, and foods that need much
chewing. Encourage your child to drink favorite fluids to
prevent dehydration. For very young children, give fluids
by cup rather than from a bottle because the nipple can
increase the pain.
Call your child's doctor during office hours if:
- The pain becomes severe.
- Your child can't drink enough fluids.
- The sores last longer than 2 weeks.
- You feel your child is getting worse.