Canker sores, or aphthous ulcers, are small sores that form on the inside of the mouth, cheek, throat, lips and rarely on the tongue. Canker sores are not contagious, but they do run in families. If both parents get canker sores there is a 90% the children will have canker sores at one time or another.
No one can pin down one particular cause for canker sores, but there seem to be several contributing factors. People who have food allergies are more prone to canker sores. Emotional stress seems to bring on outbreaks of canker sores. Those who have deficiencies in iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 tend to be more susceptible.
Canker sores begin as a sore spot and eventually pop open to an open sore with a yellow or white covering and a red halo. They can come alone or in small clusters. They are very painful.
What are some things that may help a child with a canker sore? There are two schools of thought. The things that will make the canker sore go away quicker, will cause the sore to sting and hurt for a few minutes. Numbing the area with over the counter medications to ease the pain, but help the sore to go away quicker.
Home remedies that work include alum, hydrogen peroxide and water, salt and water, and a baking soda rinse.
Alum ~ This can be purchased in the spice sections of the grocery store. Put a bit on the end of a cotton swab and apply it directly to the sore. It will hurt for a few seconds. Typically the canker sore will be gone in less than a day. Alum can also be found in pickles. Doing the same thing with the juice from a pickle jar will accomplish the same result.
Hydrogen peroxide and water ~ If the child is old enough to rinse and spit, the a 50/50 mixture of this is good for rinsing the entire mouth. If not, then a dab on a cotton swab straight on the sore is a better option.
Salt and warm water ~ This is a rinse and spit. It soothes the pain, but does not reduce the time the canker sore remains.
Any gels designed to reduce pain in the mouth are effective for simply numbing the canker sore.
Speaking from much experience, if a child can learn to handle the pickle juice for a couple of minutes, they will have a lifetime cure. It is quick, easy and it works.