Mouth ulcers affect people of all ages including your delicate baby although it is not very common among newborns. Mouth ulcers or canker sores as they are called are very painful and can make eating and drinking very difficult. When it affects your baby, she becomes distressed and cranky which in turn leads to stressful and sleepless nights for the two of you. Once you identify the mouth sores, there are very simple and effective home remedies that work wonders. Let’s first learn about mouth ulcers before getting to the home remedies.
Mouth ulcers in babies: What are mouth ulcers and how do they look?
Mouth ulcers are sores that are formed inside the mouth of babies on the gums, tongue, insides of cheeks or lips. Canker sores are usually white in colour with a red border around it. Other mouth ulcers may be white, red, or yellow. The ulcers may develop as a single one or as many in a cluster. These are not contagious and can be effectively treated with the help of simple home remedies. However, note that sores that appear outside the mouth of your baby are called cold sores which may spread through direct contact and need your doctor’s supervision.
Mouth ulcers in babies: What causes mouth ulcers?
The most common causes of mouth ulcers are:
• Mouth injury
• Viruses and illnesses
• Certain medication
• Deficiencies of vitamin B, zinc or iron
• Body heat
• Food allergies
Mouth ulcers in babies: Common symptoms of mouth ulcers
The most common symptoms of mouth sores in babies are:
• Soreness and redness
• Refusal to eat or drink
Effective home remedies for mouth ulcers in babies:
Now that we know how to identify mouth ulcers in babies, let us learn about the simple and effective home remedies to cure them. Do note that mouth ulcers may take up to two weeks or more to clear up completely.
Honey has anti-microbial properties so it is very effectively used as a home remedy to treat and heal mouth ulcers. You just need to apply a bit of honey on the mouth sore and let it work its wonders. Due to it being sweet, children too do not object to eating it. Do note that honey should not be given to babies below 12 months due to the danger of infant botulism.
Turmeric is a wonder spice that has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties. What you need to do is: Make a paste with turmeric powder and honey and apply it on the mouth ulcer. It not only aids in healing the mouth ulcer but also reduces the pain. This again should not be given to babies less than 12 months old.
Coconut has a cooling effect and is used to soothe pain caused by mouth ulcers. It is used in many forms as an effective home remedy:
Coconut water: Simply give coconut water to the child to drink. (Watermelon juice and pomegranate juice can also be given).
Coconut milk: The milk extracted from scraped coconut can be used as a mouthwash.
Coconut oil: Virgin coconut oil can be dabbed on the mouth sore 3-4 times a day. As the coconut oil has anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, it starts working wonders.
Buttermilk and curd
The lactic acid present in buttermilk and curd helps curb bacterial growth and kills the bacteria causing mouth ulcers. So it can be given to babies to drink or used as a mouthwash. It can be given to babies older than 7 months.
Clarified butter (Ghee)
Ghee can be directly applied on mouth ulcers to help in faster healing. Apply 3-4 times a day. It can be applied to babies older than 7 months.
Use a leaf from a fresh aloe vera plant and apply the gel directly on the mouth ulcer. The medicinal plant will help the sores heal faster.
Curry leaves too have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties and so is a very good home remedy for mouth sores. You can make a paste of buttermilk and curry leaves and can have your child use it as a mouthwash or even drink it.
Basil Leaves (Tulsi Leaves)
Tulsi leaves too have anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. You can ask your child to chew on 3-4 leaves so that the juice gets applied on the mouth ulcer.
A warm salt water solution can be used to rinse and gargle to soothe the mouth ulcers in older children.
Coriander seeds infused water can be used to gargle or simply given to drink, for babies older than 6 months as an effective home remedy. What you need to do is: Boil one teaspoon of coriander seeds in one cup of water. Strain, cool and use to gargle or drink 3-4 times a day.
Poppy seeds (khuskhus)
Poppy seeds too have a cooling effect on the body. Mix crushed poppy seeds with sugar and give it to your child to eat in order to get immediate relief from mouth ulcers.
This root is known by different names all over India like mulethi in Hindi, yashtimadhu in Sanskrit and adhimadhuram in Tamil, irattimadhuram/ jeshtimadh, etc. It is an excellent home remedy for mouth ulcers. Soak a one-inch piece of this root in some water and bring it to a boil. Switch off the stove and let it steep. Cool and then give it to your child to gargle. This needs to be done 4-5 times a day. You can also rub the stem with a little water on a grinding stone and apply the paste directly on the mouth ulcer. Licorice powder mixed in honey can also be directly applied on the mouth ulcer.
Ice cube/ice lolly
To get relief from pain, apply an ice cube to the sore or suck on an ice lolly, it will be very helpful to your kid.
If in spite of these home remedies, the mouth ulcers don’t subside after 2 weeks, it is advisable to consult your pediatrician. If your baby has fever along with the mouth ulcer and it looks infected with pus, then also consult the pediatrician immediately. Hope these home remedies come in handy the next time your baby is affected with mouth ulcers.