Students have a high prevalence of canker sores or cold sores, yet the sores seem to appear less frequently after graduation, when stress levels are lower, according to a report in the November/December 2003 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.
Also known as aphthous ulcers, generally occur inside the mouth, are not contagious. They can be triggered by stress, genetics, trauma, medications, menstruation, food allergies or an unrelated medical problem. Canker-sore treatment includes over-the-counter oral anesthetics. Your dentist can develop a treatment plan for more serious outbreaks.
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are most often found around the mouth but sometimes occur on the gums or roof of the mouth, and are caused by the herpes simplex virus (usually type 1, or HSV-1) and are highly contagious. “A cold sore progresses through different stages, and the infected individual is contagious through the entire process,” says James J. Sciubba, DMD, PhD, lead report author.
“If cold sores are caught during the tingling stage, a topical medication can be applied, which will prevent the sore from erupting the majority of the time,” says AGD spokesperson Eric Shapira, DDS, MAGD. An antiviral medication can be prescribed in serious cases. Ice cubes can be applied directly to the sores to help relieve the pain.
You’re dressing for a special event when a familiar tingling sensation crosses your lips. One quick look in the mirror confirms an unsightly and irritating cold sore. One remedy may be the aloe vera plant, which has been used to heal skin for more than 2,000 years and recently has gained attention as an alternative treatment for some oral health problems including canker sores, cold sores, and lichen planus and gingivitis, according to the January/February 2005 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.
Long recognized for relieving itchy skin, poison ivy and burns, the gel from the aloe vera plant is gaining attention for curing ulcerated lesions, both in and outside of the mouth. The news is good for a growing segment of the population seeking natural treatments for common health problems.
For more articles on dental health, see our main blog page.