Aphthas in babies
Babies' mouth ulcers are often confused with thrush, and they're not the same thing. Thrush and aphthae occur in the mouth of a child, but have a different clinical form and etiology. Thrush looks like milk residue left on the gums, palate and oral mucosa. They are usually caused by fungi Candida albicans. The mouth ulcers are usually viral in origin. What we often have described as aphthas when it appears in the baby's mouth for the first time is primary herpetic stomatitis. The first time a child comes into contact with the herpes virus, canker sores can occur. Most often they are associated with reluctance to eat, fever, weakness of the body and pain in the mouth.
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1. Symptoms of aphthas in infants
Aphthas are inflammatory lesions that occur in the mouth. Usually they arise as a result of a viral infection, less often as a result of a bacterial infection. They have the form of small, very painful blisters with a whitish discoloration, usually surrounded by an erythematous border. They can appear on the gums, tongue, cheek mucosa, palate. Before the mouth ulcers appear in the baby's mouth, the baby becomes grumpy, apathetic and crying; has a high body temperature and often refuses to eat, because canker sores are very painful - they make it impossible to suck and bite. After two days, the whitish bubbles burst and form small ulcers covered with a gray-white coating. Mouth ulcers, like thrush, are not dangerous, but they make it difficult to eat, causing pain and burning.
Oral hygiene in children
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2. Causes of aphthae in infants
Infants usually develop mouth ulcers during an infection and general weakness of the body. Children who are teething are particularly prone to mouth ulcers. The mucosa of the gums and the mouth is then fluffed, which is conducive to infections. The formation of aphthas is also influenced by stress, fever, preservatives added to food, allergies, and hormonal changes. Infants can also develop mouth ulcers after mechanical injuries of the oral mucosa, e.g. after being injured with a dirty toy taken in the mouth or after accidentally biting the lip. Vitamin deficiencies are responsible for the development of aphthae in infants, e.g. folic acid, vitamin B12 and iron. The mouth ulcer can recur when your baby is immunocompromised, HIV-positive, or has leukemia or enteritis. The formation of aphthae is favored by drugs administered in anti-angina treatment.
3. Treatment of aphthae in infants
Propolis drops can be used to treat aphthae. Oral hygiene is important. You should clean your teeth with silicone finger pads. You can also give your child an anti-inflammatory herbal tea of sage or chamomile to drink. To reduce pain while eating, give your child crushed and mushy foods, such as porridges, semolina, grated vegetables. Avoid salty and acidic foods as they irritate the mouth ulcers and cause burning. Sweet foods should be limited in the diet because they encourage the growth of bacteria in the mouth.
It is worth spraying the baby's mouth with dental disinfectant fluids or applying chamomile-soaked cotton swabs gently to the mouth ulcers. Special drops and aerosol preparations are also effective. Sometimes the famous violet, i.e. gentian water solution, or a solution of baking soda (a small teaspoon of soda for half a cup of boiled water) helps. There are also special aphthous gels containing hyaluronic acid and sticking patches on the market, which relieve pain and burning, and gradually dissolve under the influence of saliva (so-called lipid-colloid dressings).
With severe herpetic stomatitis, it is sometimes necessary to administer an antiviral drug and brush the child's mouth from the inside with nystatin suspension. If your baby has mouth ulcers, it is worth having a blood test and a test for gastrointestinal parasites. The canker sores disappear after a week or so and leave no traces. In preventing canker sores, it is important to take care of the baby's oral hygiene and follow a high-vitamin diet. Probiotics are an effective prophylactic method because they normalize the bacterial microflora of the oral cavity.
Did you know that crying while eating can be a symptom of your baby's mouth ulcer? Talk to other parents about this.