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Are Canker Sores Contagious? Are They the Same as Cold Sores? How to Prevent & Get Rid of Mouth Ulcers

Smile Reef

Canker sores are just as common in children as they are in adults, if not more so. As a parent, when we see our children in discomfort and pain we want to do all we can to get the problem rectified. But when they approach you with a canker sore in their mouth, many parents are uncertain of treatment. With that in mind, we at Smile Reef would like to discuss canker sores in your children’s mouth.

Are Canker Sores Contagious?

For starters, let us cover the basics of a canker sore. Surrounded by an area of redness, a canker sore is a small white swellings or sores found on the gum line, under the tongue, on the cheeks or lips. Despite popular belief, canker sores are not contagious, though they can often recur. These little nuisances can form minor or small, sometimes large, and now and again, multiple sores will often cluster together. Making eating or drinking unbearable, canker sores can be quite painful, especially to kids.

Causes of Canker Sores

Most medical experts agree it is either a bacterial or viral infection involving the immune system, but it is unclear what actually causes canker sores. Heredity could be a contributing factor as well as being in situations of stress, having a vitamin or iron deficiency, along with trauma, allergies, and being around cigarette smoking. Teens and kids are more susceptible than adults, but as mentioned earlier, everyone is capable of developing a canker sore.

Canker Sores VS Cold Sores

Not to be confused with cold sores that generally emerge on the lips, or outside the mouth and are contagious, painful and derive from the herpes virus; canker sores only appear inside the mouth.

Canker Sore Treatment

Recurrent outbreaks are common, but canker sores generally heal within seven-ten days. They do not require a prescription medication for treatment as they typically heal on their own, but to help minimize the pain a pain reliever is recommended. However, a doctor should be contacted if a canker sore lasts longer than 2 weeks and it has become too painful for your child to eat or drink.

How to Prevent Canker Sores

Below are a few tips to help your child prevent canker sores from reoccurring and to help canker sores be less painful.
1) Avoid frequently eating abrasive foods. Chips, nuts, and other such examples irritate gums and mouth tissue. Ensure your children avoid eating salty snacks when a canker sore is present to avoid undue pain.
2) Avoid foods that induce minor allergies. In addition to allergenic foods, spicy, salty, and acidic foods should also not be consumed while your child is enduring a canker sore breakout. These selections can contribute to irritation that leads to more pain.
3) Ensure your child frequently brushes their teeth and have them use a mouthwash with products that do not contain SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) if they are prone to canker sores.
4) Try switching to a toothbrush with softer bristles and avoid scrubbing too hard if your child seems to get canker sores on a regular basis.

Pediatric Dental Care

Teaching your child how to minimize the risk of getting a canker sore and how to live through them easier is ideal for you and them. Remind them it won’t last long and don’t forget to offer pain relievers when necessary. To keep your child’s mouth healthy, routine visits to the dentist are a must. We at Smile Reef are readily available to help your child be comfortable at the dentist and to achieve your dental health goals. Call us today to schedule your kid’s next appointments.

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