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Canker Sores
May 2002

Q. My 4 -year-old gets canker sores in inside of her mouth all the time. It has been going on for at least 6 months. She brushes her teeth every day. Does she need to be doing something different? No one else in my family gets them like she does. I am concerned because it bothers her and hurts sometimes when we are eat supper. They seem to go away, but keep coming back! Can you offer any advice?

A. Sores in the mouth are an upsetting and frustrating condition as you describe, especially in a child. In most cases the cause is not known. Some may be caused by a virus, but we don't have effective treatment for most viral conditions anyway. Trauma to the mouth tissues, or allergy to certain foods can be a factor but it is often not possible to make such a link. Treatment is usually aimed at relieving symptoms using topical medication or non-prescription pain relievers. Your doctor can guide you in this regard. The problem may lessen as your child gets a bit older.

http://www.familydoctor.org/flowcharts/510.html

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000998.htm

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