Do you have blisters on the edges of your lips but aren’t certain if it they are caused by cold sores or canker sores?
Here’s an illustration of the difference, which can be important as it can affect your scheduled dental visit.
This is because in the case of cold sores, we suggest you give us a call and inform us so we can reschedule your appointment until after healing! It should only take 8 to 10 days.
We’ll see you then, and we’ll take great care of your mouth!
While it’s not uncommon to suffer from an occasional cold sore, some of us endure regular breakouts. If you are one of this unlucky group, you know how uncomfortable and embarrassing cold sores can be.
Also called fever blisters, cold sores mean that you’ve contracted a viral infection. The virus causing cold sores is herpes simplex 1, or HSV-1 and the World Health Organization reports that nearly 70% of us carry that virus.
This is why, at Comfort Dental Centre Buderim, we focus on preventing, minimising, and treating cold sores to limit their breakouts and their transmission to others. We have suggestions to help you avoid, suppress, and take care of your mouth if you suffer from cold sores!
Avoid cold sore triggers
Preventing a cold sore is quicker and safer approach than treating an outbreak. While not all cold sores can be prevented, knowing their triggers is a first step managing them.
Common cold sore triggers include:
- Foods with a bad lysine to arginine ratio. Lysine reduces cold sores while arginine triggers them.
- Illness or surgery
- Sleep deprivation
- Sun or wind exposure
- Skin injuries
- Hormonal changes, particularly from menstruation or birth control pills
- Weakened immune system
Treat as soon as any symptoms appear
The critical thing in treating cold sores is to catch them early, while they are still a tingling in your lips. Cold sores are caused by a virus, and there is no way to kill the virus itself.
Antiviral medications like Valtrex, Famvir, and Zovirax, however, can fight off the formation of cold sores and shorten their duration. These medications can also help relieve the discomfort and pain that comes with cold sores.
These medicines are most effective before blisters start appearing, at which point they will not help as much.
You might consider contacting your doctor about a prescription for an appropriate antiviral drug that you can hold onto until first symptoms appear. Then you can rush down to the pharmacy, and begin suppressing the cold sores immediately.
Natural remedies include:
- Lip balms containing at least 1 per cent lemon balm
- Lemon tea and compresses
- Mint, peppermint, and witch hazel oil
- Aloe vera gel, which soothes inflamed sores while providing crucial moisture
- Licorice root, which contains glycyrrhizic acid, considered to be a natural antiviral
- Licorice powder, mixed with water or petroleum jelly and applied directly to sores
- Echinacea as an immune booster, best consumed in tea or supplement form
- Lysine cream or l-lysine supplements, as l-lysine may boost the immune system and aid cell repair
- Vitamin E to repair damaged skin cells and build new ones
- Vitamin C to boost the white blood cell level, the body’s central infection-fighting system
There are also over the counter (OTC) medications available to treat cold sores symptoms. Many offer child-friendly dosages.
- Abreva and Zilactin, which are both available online, may reduce recovery time
- Anbesol and Orajel can numb sores, removing the pain
- Zinc oxide creams on scabs may kill virus cells released from the sore
- Rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide help to keep cold sores clean
- Inflammation and pain-reducing medications like ibuprofen can also help with symptoms
Avoiding spreading the virus to others (or back to yourself)
Here are some things you can do to reduce your number of outbreaks and prevent spreading the virus.
- Always use sunscreen and lip balm. Too much sunlight or sunburn can cause cold sores to flare.
- Avoid sharing razors, towels, toothbrushes, silverware, or other personal objects that may have been used by a person with a cold sore.
- Wash your hands frequently, and keep them away from sores.
- Talk to your doctor if you frequently get cold sores. Your doctor may be able to prescribe pills to prevent cold sore outbreaks.
Cold & canker sores and your appointment
Keeping track of your dentist appointment is one of the foundations for having great teeth. However, it is important that you call and inform us about your general condition so we can schedule appointments in a way best for your dental health care regime!
If you have cold sores, they should heal within 8-10 days and we can schedule your appointment then. If you happen to have small blisters around the border of your lips they could also be canker sores; here’s an illustration of the difference.
Comfort Dental Centre Buderim Cares
Comfort Dental Centre Buderim provides expert care for healthy, beautiful smiles. When you leave our office not only will you be happy with the treatment you received, but also how well you were treated.
We serve patients from Buderim and surrounding areas with top-notch dentistry. Our dental practice in Buderim provides the highest quality of dental care, in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, with a commitment to excellent customer service.
Call (07) 5370 8865 or visit us at T204B, 32 Wises Road in Buderim.