About one in five people has had a mouth ulcer, which is not contagious or serious. But these sores can cause discomfort and pain, especially for young children. When children get them, they may find drinking, eating, and sometimes even speaking excruciating.
You need to understand the possible causes of your child’s mouth ulcer to relieve their pain.
Symptoms and Causes of Mouth Ulcer
A mouth ulcer develops in the soft tissue lining the insides of your mouth. It usually appears white or yellow, with a red outline indicating inflammation. Mouth ulcers, sometimes called aphthous ulcers (stomatitis), may also be caused by canker sores. But they are different from cold sores, which are contagious and appear on the lips rather than inside the mouth.
Viral infections often lead to mouth ulcers. Some experts observe children who are deficient in folic acid, iron, zinc and vitamin B12 are more likely to develop these types of sores.
Mouth ulcers may also develop from injury. For example, your child may get it when they burn their mouth with hot food, accidentally bite the inside of the cheek, or from wearing dental braces.
Treatments and Remedies for Mouth Ulcers
The good news is mouth ulcers clear on their own after one to two weeks. However, your child may lose their
Try the following remedies to keep your children comfortable:
- Encourage your child to drink cool
- Have your child gargle with a baking soda and water solution. You can also try a salt and water solution if your child can handle the sting.
- Let your child hold an ice cube or wet tea bag on the sore.
- Give your child soft, cooling, and nutritious foods like yoghurt.
Avoid feeding your child with foods that can aggravate sores, such as:
- Rich, spicy, and salty foods
- Citrus juices like orange juice or lemonade
- Rough-textured foods like crackers and cookies
You can also try over-the-counter topical anaesthetics like benzocaine and lidocaine. Consult your child’s paediatrician before using numbing gels or administering any medication to your child. Recurring mouth ulcers and sores that don’t heal require medical attention.
TCM Remedies to Consider
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), mouth ulcers are usually the result of
- Stomach Fire or Heat indicates excessive Heat or Fire in the stomach. It can cause mouth ulcers, bad breath, thirst, and bleeding gums. Try Tiao Wei Cheng Qi soup (调味承气汤) to remove Heat and Dryness.
- Heart Fire can cause mouth ulcers since the tongue is associated with the Heart. Other symptoms that show include frustration, insomnia, and redness on the tip of the tongue. Try Dao Chi San powder (导赤散) to clear the Heart.
Yin Deficiency can cause a person to experience a dry mouth and throat, dizziness, hearing issues, hot flushes, ringing in the ears, and sweaty palms and feet. It can be treated with Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (六味地黄丸).
- Wind Heat or Toxic Heat with symptoms such as a fever, sore throat, coughs, and aversion to cold, can be dispersed with Yin Qiao powder (银翘散) or Sang Ju powder (桑聚散).
Many TCM formulations like the above have anti-inflammatory properties. The formulation of indigo (Qing Dai, 青黛), for example, was shown to significantly accelerate the healing of dental ulcers in animal models in a 2016 study.
Your little one can take cooling drinks to soothe a mouth ulcer. For example, pearl barley (yi yi ren, 薏苡仁 ) is a delicious cooling drink found on many Malaysian restaurants’ menus and sold as tea bags. Your child may also like peppermint tea with its cooling effect and minty flavour. “Peppermint is present in Yin Qiao powder and Sang Ju powder,” Physician Lim shares.
While it will go away, mouth ulcers are uncomfortable for the little ones, especially if it’s their first time. Hopefully, you find one of the remedies here effective enough to turn your child’s frown upside down into a smile.
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