Conditions We Treat: Mouth Sores

Canker sores are painful ulcers that form on the tongue and inside the mouth in response to injuries, viruses, anxiety, and certain medications. They appear white or reddish in color and may occur as a single lesion or a cluster. Most are very small, but some can grow up to one inch in diameter.

*Please note: a painful blister present outside the mouth, such as in the corners of the mouth or along the external edges of the lips, are usually cold sores, which are a different type of lesion. Cold sores require antiviral treatment and lifestyle changes. Unlike canker sores, cold sores are contagious.


What Are the Symptoms?

Canker sores are very common in both children and adults and typically cause at least one of the following symptoms:

  • Pain at the site of the lesion
  • Swelling
  • Irritability
  • Drooling
  • Headache and fever

If you suspect that you or your child has canker sores, make an appointment with Dr. Samadi. Diagnosis is almost always possible following a simple physical exam.


Is There a Treatment?

In most cases, canker sores will clear up on their own within two weeks. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can alleviate pain and fever, however, ibuprofen should never be given to babies under the age of six months or to children that are vomiting or dehydrated. Cold drinks and frozen treats can also be used to soothe the pain. Avoid eating spicy or acidic foods, as they can exacerbate discomfort and decrease healing time.

If these measures do not provide enough relief, liquid antacids can be administered up to four times per day. For children under age four, a 5 mL teaspoon should be given following meals. Children younger than four should have 2.5 mL of liquid antacid rubbed into their mouths.

If a canker sore is large, doesn’t go away after two weeks, or displays any signs of infection, contact a doctor right away. Other warning signs include dehydration, unusual thirst, dizziness, and a fever higher than 100.4 degrees. While rare, some young children can have seizures resulting from complications of canker sores, so any fever lasting longer than 24 hours in a child under the age of two should be cause for concern. Contact us for more information.

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