A canker sore is an ulcer in the mouth that is not serious, but painful. A canker sore will appear as a round white or yellowish open sore with redness around it. Most commonly they are found inside the cheeks or lips, or on the tongue, gums and the soft tissue behind the roof of the mouth.
The cause of canker sores is unknown although it appears that they can run in families and some people are just more prone to getting them. There is also a belief that people with food allergies, viral infections, and dietary deficiencies are susceptible to canker sores.
It is a myth that a cold sore and a canker sore are the same thing. A cold sore is caused by the herpes simplex virus and is contagious where a canker sore is not contagious.
There are not a lot of things you can do to help heal a canker sore, but you can provide some relief to your child by giving them cold drinks, ice chips, or frozen ice pops. Make sure that you don’t give them citrus as it will further irritate the canker sore.
You can also try a teething gel or cream, which will numb the area. You can also mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 1 part water and dab gently on the sore with a cotton swab. Then dab a small amount of milk of magnesia on the area. These treatments can be given 3 or 4 times per day. Additionally, you can use an over the counter children’s pain reliever. (Remember to never give your child aspirin which is linked to a rare but deadly disease called Reye’s syndrome in children who have a viral illness.)