Oral Ulcerations


Sometimes patients come in complaining that they aren’t able to drink or eat. When parents note no history of recent trauma and there is no cavity noted, this usually stems from some type of soft tissue ulceration. Today, let’s talk a little about what a canker sore is and what causes it. Oral ulcerations are often the result of trauma, an apthous ulcer, or a viral infection. Local irritation or traumatic injury can cause a tear in the tissue that results in an ulceration. Often times an older child will know if he hit his mouth on the playground, had a rubbing orthodontic bracket, or bit into a chip that led to a small, but often painful oral ulcer. Other times, a child is too young to know or remember biting into something sharp or a child has no recollection of any trauma. In this case, the ulceration maybe an apthous ulcer. These type of ulcers, often recurrent, currently have an unknown cause. They may last 7-10 days and vary in size. They are completely benign, affect anywhere from 10-25% of the population, and are especially prominent in children. Lastly, any number of viral infections can cause oral ulcerations.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much to do to treat these types of ulcerations. They must heal on their own and at their own pace. Often palliative care is the only recommended option. Over the counter mouth rinses like Peroxyl may help soothe the tissue if a child is able to spit. Otherwise, avoidance of rough foods (like potato chips) and acidic or spicy foods may decreases symptoms as well.

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