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Mouth Lesions in Children


A mouth lesion

is damaged tissue that may have a change in normal color. It may look like an ulcer, a raised bump, or sore. Your child may have one or more mouth lesions that may be painful. The cause of your child's lesion may be unknown. A mouth lesion may be caused by trauma from biting the inside of his mouth or brushing his teeth and gums too hard. It may also be caused by a retainer or braces that rub against parts of his mouth. A viral, bacterial, or fungal infection can also cause a mouth lesion. Mouth lesions may be a side effect of certain medicines.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child has severe mouth pain that is preventing him from eating or drinking.
  • Your child has symptoms of dehydration such as the following:
    • Dark urine or urinating little or not at all
    • Dry mouth and lips
    • Crying without tears

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • The mouth lesion gets larger.
  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child develops new symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, a rash, or joint pain.
  • Your child regularly has mouth lesions.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.


Your child's mouth lesion may go away on its own. Treatment depends on the cause of your child's lesion. If an infection has caused his mouth lesion, he may need medicine to treat it. He may also need any of the following:

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much your child should take and how often he should take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him or her. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • A mouth rinse, gel, or spray may be given to relieve pain. A mouth rinse may be given to help keep your child's mouth clean, or to prevent infection.
  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.

Manage your child's mouth lesion:

  • Encourage your child to clean his mouth regularly. Your child should brush his teeth, gums, and tongue after he eats and before he goes to sleep. He should use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
  • Encourage your child to drink liquids and eat regular meals. Mouth lesions can be painful and make it hard for your child to eat and drink. Your child should continue to drink liquids as directed to prevent dehydration. Ask how much liquid he should drink each day and which liquids are best for him. He should also eat regular meals. Do not give your child food or drinks that irritate his mouth lesion. These include drinks or foods that are spicy, salty, or acidic. Examples include orange juice, lemonade, potato chips, or oranges.

Follow up with your child's doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.