Do you have blisters on the border of your lips but don’t know if it they are caused by cold sores or canker sores?
There’s really little to be worried about in either case! However if you do have cold sores, we suggest you give us a call and inform us so we can reschedule your appointment after healing!
It should only take 8 to 10 days. We’ll see you then!
Cold Sores and your Dental Appointment at Forster Dental Centre
While it’s not uncommon to suffer from an occasional cold sore and most of us carry the virus, some of us endure regular breakouts. If you are one of this unfortunate group, you know how painful and embarrassing cold sores can be.
Sadly, once you have HSV-1, there is no permanent cure. Thankfully, it won’t do much harm, and outbreaks usually only hang around for a week or two. But HSV-1 has the habit of lying dormant for periods of time and then flaring up again at the most inconvenient times.
This is why, at Forster Dental Centre, we focus on preventing, minimising, and treating cold sores to limit their breakouts and prevent their transmission to others.
We have tested suggestions to help you avoid, suppress, and take care of your mouth and lips if they suffer from cold sores!
Avoiding cold sore triggers
Preventing a cold sore is quicker and more effective than treating it after it erupts. Not all cold sores can be avoided, but knowing triggers is a first step in managing them.
Common triggers include:
- Foods with a bad lysine to arginine ratio. Lysine reduces cold sores while arginine triggers them. These foods include almonds, grape juice, wheat bread, and peanut butter.
- Illness or surgery
- Sun or wind exposure
- Skin injuries
- Hormonal changes, particularly from menstruation or birth control pills
- Weakened immune system
Keeping a diary or log may help you determine what triggers your cold sores. Track things such as activities, diet, illnesses, and life events can narrow down what may have triggered an outbreak. Then you can work on avoiding them!
Quick treatment to suppress cold sores
Keep antiviral medications nearby. People who frequently get cold sores may want to keep appropriate medications nearby so they can use them at the earliest possible stages of a breakout.
The medicines that work on cold sores are antivirals. They work by stopping viral replication, which in turn can stop old sores from developing or may reduce the size and healing time of an outbreak.
Antiviral medications are available with a prescription. Cold sore antivirals come in two different forms and both work best when used as soon as is possible – even before the cold sore can be seen.
- Topical medication (cream) that is applied directly to the area
- Oral medications (pills) that are swallowed
Prescription creams and ointments include:
- Penciclovir cream can reduce healing time by 1 to 2 days, particularly if the cold sore was triggered by sunlight.
- Acyclovir ointment or cream is most effective when used at the first sign of cold sore symptoms.
Other prescription antivirals include:
Nonprescription ointments and creams include:
- Medicines containing benzocaine and camphorated phenol to ease the discomfort of cold sores
- Benzyl alcohol relieves the pain of cold sores and may help shorten healing time, especially if used in time.
- Docosanol 10%, applied directly to the sores, reduces pain and help sores vanish faster.
Dealing with symptoms
Here are a few successful approaches:
Cold compresses. Reduce irritation and swelling with a well-insulated icepack or cool, wet cloth. Apply compresses for 5 to 10 minutes multiple times a day.
Avoid acid. Steer away from sharp, acidic foods like tomatoes and oranges to minimise pain and inflammation.
Don’t touch sores. They may seem prime for poking, but playing with them can cause severe infection, which will make the sores stay longer and can cause scarring.
Aloe vera. Aloe vera can soothe the pain associated with cold sores. It also contains vitamins C, A, and E, which help to support the immune system and may quicken the healing process.
Avoid spices. While recovering from a cold sore, it’s best to lay off the hot foods, particularly if your cold sores haven’t scabbed over yet.
Avoid spreading cold sores
Close contact spreads the cold sore virus, but it can happen in ways you might not expect. You can get herpes simplex by kissing, of course, but you can also get it from sharing a fork, lip balm, a mug, or a razor with someone who has it. The virus can also be passed along while it is dormant.
You can also “give” cold sores back to yourself. If you have any lipstick, balm, toothbrush, or other lip products that might be contaminated, throw them out. Also, wash any pillowcases you used during an outbreak, as they can host the virus.
Your local dentist – Forster Dental Centre
At Forster Dental Centre, we provide each patient with the care that allows them to maintain healthy teeth and a beautiful smile for life! We offer an extensive range of dental services from preventative dentistry to restorative dental options along with the latest in cosmetic dentistry solutions for straighter and whiter teeth.
We pride ourselves on listening to the needs and concerns of all our patients and aim to provide you with the personalised attention you and your family deserves.
Same day dental emergency appointment available!