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Mouth ulcers in kids: Causes and prevention

It can be very unpleasant if children or babies develop mouth ulcers, also known as canker sores. These little sores on the lining of the mouth, lips or tongue often cause pain and irritation and are no fun for either the parent or the child. In this article, we discuss ways to prevent mouth ulcers in kids, including lots of practical tips and advice and options for children’s mouth ulcers treatment.

Causes of mouth ulcers in children

There are many different reasons why children get mouth ulcers. In adults and older kids, it could be due to fillings or braces, but these are less of an issue for tots. Instead, the causes of child or baby mouth ulcers might be hard food or accidentally biting the tongue/cheek with their own teeth. Sometimes they can also be caused by harder to recognise factors such as:

  • Stress
  • Eating particular foods (chocolate, cheese and wheat do it for some people)
  • Using toothpaste with the chemical sodium lauryl sulphate
  • Bacterial infections
Zendium Mouth ulcer treatment children

If you’ve discovered ulcers in your child’s mouth, don’t worry; they are generally pretty harmless and self-limiting.

What do mouth ulcers in children actually look like?

There are some key signs to help you recognise mouth ulcers. If you think your child might be suffering, sit them down and inspect their mouth, tongue and lips. Use a bright torch if you have one to hand, being sure not to shine it in their eyes. Then, look out for:

  1. Single ‘welt-like’ spots. These sometimes look like little craters
  2. Clusters of craters (sometimes multiple ulcers develop in a small patch)
  3. Dark red, yellow, grey or white discolouration around the welt

NB: Be careful to distinguish ulcers from cold sores. Cold sores are also common in children and babies and look more like a rash. They develop around the lips or mouth, producing a tingling or burning sensation.

Zendium Mouth ulcers in children

Children’s mouth ulcers treatment

If you’ve discovered canker sores in your child, don’t worry; mouth ulcers in kids are generally pretty harmless and self-limiting. There are, however, a few things you can do to help relieve any pain. Here’s our list of how to treat mouth ulcers:

  1. Try using a soft toothbrush.
  2. You could apply a protective paste recommended by your pharmacist.
  3. Avoid rough, spicy or really hot food and drink.

Finally, if you’re at all worried, speak to your doctor or dentist for further advice on children’s mouth ulcers treatment and what’s best for your child. Some tell-tale signs to indicate it’s worth seeing a healthcare professional about ulcers are if they last for three weeks, keep recurring or become more painful/red as this might be a sign of infection.

How to prevent mouth ulcers in kids?

Now you know the key basics on treating canker sores in children or babies, what can you do to prevent them coming back? First of all, try to establish good oral hygiene in your child. Habits formed at a young age have a big impact down the line, so getting your little one into a good teeth-brushing routine should help oral health issues in the future.

Try a Zendium Kids toothpaste, which is as gentle as water and has mild flavours, so children are more likely to brush for longer. If the problem persists, again see your doctor or dentist for advice, but whatever happens, try not to worry too much. Mouth ulcers are common and will usually go away over time.


The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice; it is solely available for information purposes. We recommend that you consult your dentist if you are experiencing any mouth issues.