Do you feel helpless when your little one comes to you crying, pointing to an ugly sore inside her mouth? Do you wonder how you can alleviate her pain – take her to a doctor or try a home remedy? Parents are often clueless about the right treatment for mouth ulcers.
Oral or mouth ulcers are a common clinical problem among children and can be quite painful. They are yellowish-white, little sores that appear inside the mouth, on the tongue or on the gums. Children, whose parents have recurrent oral ulcers, are more likely to get them due to genetic factors. Young children in group settings (e.g., daycare, shared play areas) may develop oral ulcers as a secondary response to an existing infection (bacterial or viral).
Types of Ulcers
Some of the common ones in children are – single ulcer (single lesion due to trauma or fungal infection), multiple ulcers occurring due to infections (bacterial and/or viral), chronic ulcers and ulcers associated with physiological conditions like autoimmune disorders and metabolic deficiency disorders.
- Viral infections like cold sores or hand, foot and mouth disease.
- Fungal infections like oral thrush.
- Injuries like biting, burns or rubbing from braces.
- Deficiencies of certain nutrients, such as vitamin B, zinc and iron.
- Diseases like coeliac disease or inflammatory bowel disease.
- Any food allergies.
If left untreated, mouth ulcers can worsen and your child may develop a secondary bacterial infection.
10 home remedies to treat mouth ulcers in infants and toddlers:
- Hydration: Ensure your baby is well hydrated by giving him water regularly. Fresh juice, milkshakes and tender coconut water are good choices. These aid in quicker healing. Dehydration and a dry mouth may worsen your baby's ulcers.
- Rinsing with lukewarm water: Rinse your toddler's mouth with lukewarm water to which a teaspoon of salt has been added. The antibacterial properties of salt will help treat the ulcers. Doing this will also flush out bacteria and other germs in your baby’s mouth and prevent secondary infections.
- Honey: Apply honey on the affected part of the mouth for a quick recovery. The antibacterial property, acidity and viscosity of honey act as protective barriers against pathogens and prevent the wound from aggravating. Honey can also be mixed with turmeric or ghee while applying on the ulcer.
- Ghee:Ghee is an active ingredient in many Ayurvedic preparations. This age-old remedy helps reduce pain and swelling caused by mouth ulcers. As ghee and honey are often added to baby foods, it makes it easier for your baby to get adapted to their taste and texture.
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera has cleansing and antiseptic properties. Apply a small amount of the gel on the ulcer inside your baby's mouth to promote faster healing.
- Coconut: Be it the oil or water or milk that the coconut yields, all of them have significant beneficial effects in curing mouth ulcers. Virgin coconut oil exhibits antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Encourage your child to consume more of these in his diet.
- Probiotics: These are friendly microorganisms that improve gut health. Probiotic foods include dairy products like yoghurt, curd, buttermilk, kefir, cheese, rabdi, paneer, shrikhand, lassi; fermented vegetable juices and cereals. The friendly bacteria present in probiotics help fight harmful germs and keep away fungal infections that cause mouth ulcers in your child.
- Herbs: Medicinal herbs such as tulsi, basil etc. are effective in healing painful sores because of their antimicrobial properties. Use them for your child and make her drink a few sips of them to be relieved from oral ulcers.
- Curry leaves: Curry leaves possess antibacterial, antifungal and antiprotozoal properties. Just chewing on a spoonful of curry leaves will help your child to get rid of the mouth ulcer.
- Papaya: According to a study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry in the year 2016, it has been suggested that papaya exhibits antibacterial activity and fights bacterial infections. Give your child a few pieces of ripe papaya to provide relief.
Try these home remedies the next time your child develops mouth ulcers. Using household items to cure your simple problems will help you manage her discomfort effectively. However, if your little one develops fever, headache, dizziness, dehydration, diarrhoea or vomiting, consult a doctor and get necessary medications to address the infections within the body.
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