Elijah woke up last Saturday complaining about his “masakit na teeth”. I was skeptic about that due to the fact that I strictly impose regular brushing on him, so I got a flashlight, examined his mouth and found two red spots on his left and right inner cheeks and another two on his tongue. I immediately recognized it as singaw and I couldn’t help thinking, “haayyyy, here we go again..the singaw agony begins”.
Singaw, also known as canker sore or aphthous ulcer, are small lesions that often appear on the inner cheeks or lips, on the gums or on the tongue. They are white or yellowish in appearance with red border and are not contagious. The definite cause of these small but terrible culprits is unknown, but several factors can contribute to their appearance such as immune system malfunction; accidental cheek or tongue bite; hormonal changes during menstruation; emotional stress; sensitivity to several foods such as chocolates, strawberries, pineapple, or citrus fruits; toothpaste and mouthwashes containing sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS); use of hard toothbrush, eating sharp-edged foods such as chips and crusty bread; deficiency in vitamin C, vitamin B, zinc, iron, or folic acid; and viral, bacterial or fungal infection.
As a parent, what do we have to do to help our child get through with singaw? Here are some tips:
- Consult a doctor. It was my son’s second singaw encounter and for both times, I immediately brought him to his pedia. It saved him from further agony and me from further worry because the infection can multiply and spread within his mouth and up to the throat, which will make eating, chewing, and swallowing food more painful. When singaw attacks your toddler, I’d say that your trusted pedia knows best. As a mom, I always find comfort in knowing that my child has been checked by my trusted doctor.
- Discuss with your doctor the type of medicine suitable for your child. Two years ago, when Elijah had singaw for the first time, his pedia prescribed a medicine in gel form to be applied directly to his mouth. My fingers almost died a painful death because he bit it whenever I applied the medicine. Because I learned a painful lesson , and because I wanted my fingers intact, I asked the pedia this time to prescribe an oral drop if possible. I was glad to know that there is indeed an oral drop for singaw! The pedia prescribed Nystatin, an antifungal antibiotic to be applied using a medicine dropper that came with the package. The advantage of an oral drop is you can easily apply it to the affected area without causing damage to your fingers. The liquid medicine also has a better chance of spreading within the mouth up to the throat, thereby protecting your child from further singaw invasion. It’s safe to swallow and it also tastes better than the gel remedies. It’s cheaper too! I got it for only P299, much cheaper than the P500 medicine gel I bought previously.
- Soft diet. Singaw is every parent’s nightmare not only because you see your child suffer from the pain but also because he eats and drinks very little or nothing at all. I was horrified when our pedia told me that one of her patients was hospitalized last week because the child refused to eat and drink anything. I understood how painful it was for my son to eat and drink so I fed him soft foods such as his favorite batchoy (a famous Ilonggo noodle soup), arroz caldo, instant noodles, and rice with his favorite pochero stock. As for his milk, he’s already used to drinking it from a glass so I didn’t have much problem with that. When he complained that it was painful for him to swallow his milk, I used colorful drinking straws just to entice him to drink even just the little amount of it. I also gave him his favorite Dutchmill yogurt drink and Nestle yogurt with real fruit bits as yogurt is said to help fight off bacteria in the mouth.
- TLC. I’ve always believed that the best we can offer our children when they’re sick is our tender loving care. It works like magic; it lessens the pain and gives them assurance that everything will be alright.
Just this morning, Elijah asked for rice, eggs, and hotdogs with a glass of milk and I almost cried because his appetite is back to normal. With this latest singaw episode, I learned that as a parent, there are some ordeals our children go through that are definitely out of our hands; the best we can do is pray to God, go to the doctor, and help them overcome it with as much ease and comfort as we can possibly offer.