Symptoms and treatment of oral sores or aphthous ulcers in children

Symptoms and treatment of oral sores or aphthous ulcers in children

From the Greek aphtay, which means “burning”, oral aphthae are lesions that are actually mild. This type of lesion affects the epithelium of the mucosa, i.e., they occur superficially on the mucosal lining. However, these ulcerous-vesicular lesions are often painful, especially in children. They can appear both as isolated and larger lesions with an irregular border, as they can multiply.

Mouth sores in children appear not only on the inner lips and cheeks, but also on the edges and dorsum of the tongue. They may also occur on the gums and soft palate. Children in particular are affected because it is a continuous pain in the mouth that bothers them when talking, eating, drinking liquids or even yawning. They may feel anything from itching and tingling to stinging within 12 to 36 hours. It first appears as a reddish spot and then eventually ulcerates.


It is important to identify mouth sores in infants as soon as we notice first symptoms and signs of discomfort. This will help us to treat them immediately and minimize possible ulceration or even reverse the damage. Therefore, if we detect an aphthous lesion which have a rounded or oval-shaped, well-defined, crater-like appearance, it is most likely oral thrush. There is a substance called fibrin that exudes from the sore, hence the characteristic greyish-white or even yellowish tone

The mouth ulcer will grow in size within 24 hours, although there are cases where it will progress in up to a week. And while they will eventually heal on their own, it can take up to two weeks for this to happen. It can become a painful process, which can even become chronic. In these cases, superinfection occurs and can be much more bothersome. This can include fever, general malaise and swollen glands.


Although mouth sores can be present in adults, they can particularly affect infants. It is common for children to complain of pain inside the mouth, usually on the inside of the lips and cheeks. It is common for children not to be able to resist touching the thrush with their finger or tongue, slowing the recovery process. In these cases, the healing process can take up to a month. Children will be more sensitive to hot or cold foods, as well as spicy, peppery or salty foods.

Oral thrush is also known as aphthous ulcers, as mentioned above it can also be accompanied by swollen glands, fever or pharyngitis. We may mistakenly blame children for causing such a lesion, but in reality, the origin is somewhat uncertain. They may be hereditary, or even a sign that the child is suffering from a viral infection, such as measles.

Many pediatric dentists point out that mouth sores in children may be due to problems with the immune system or an exacerbated response to a stimulus. So, in addition to viral infections, they can be bacterial in origin, or even due to an emotional or hormonal disturbance. But they can also be due to injury. For example, if the child’s toothbrush slipped and the edge brushed against the gum or the inside of the lip, or the same with a spoon when eating. There are even children who are sensitive to certain foods, for example, to the acidity of kiwi or the bromelain in pineapple.


We mentioned earlier that these types of mouth sores usually heal on their own within a maximum of two weeks. However, to prevent them from getting worse or if the sore is already painful, it is not advisable to wait. Some treatment options for thrush are:

  • Avoid eating very hot, very cold, salty, spicy or even citrus fruits.
  • Among the natural remedies, the application of aloe vera offers pleasant relief.
  • Another solution is mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine, which helps to disinfect and helps to prevent thrush from worsening.
  • In the case of analgesic ointments or ointments containing dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory, it is best to consult your child’s dentist.


At Moonz we have highly qualified medical staff to treat a wide range of problems related to the mouth and teeth. If your little one suffers from oral thrush, ask our pediatric dentists what treatment is best for him or her. They will be able to examine, assess the situation and indicate what is best for your little one. Whether it is to treat oral thrush in children, caries, malocclusion, ask for an appointment to evaluate your case.

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