How to Treat and Prevent Cold Sores

Have you ever experienced the following scenario? You have an important event marked on the calendar, like a job interview or wedding. You’ve been looking forward to it, and maybe it’s taken quite a bit of preparation and effort to make it happen. Whatever it is, it’s been stressful. One morning you wake up and notice a painful spot near your mouth or on your lip. It’s a cold sore!

Why Cold Sores Happen

Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus, or HSV. There are multiple types, not just the kind associated with sexually transmitted disease, or type 2. A very common form is type 1, and it often appears in children, since they tend to be less hygienic than adults and type 1 is contagious simply through contact. Unfortunately, once a person contracts the HSV virus, it never leaves the body, simply cycling through inactive and active periods. People may go for years without a cold sore or other symptoms. Stress is a contributing factor to developing a cold sore, as well as having a compromised immune system, trauma to the mouth and more than the usual sun exposure. Although there’s no guaranteed way to predict a cold sore, if you have them, note any events or activities that appear to trigger them.

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, go away on their own, but usually not fast enough, especially if you have an important event to attend. Here are some tips from the Yuba City Dental Group to help your body get over a cold sore:

Try Ointments

Cold sore ointment is available over the counter and, when used as directed, it can shorten the lifespan of a cold sore.

Treat It With Cold

If you feel a cold sore coming on (soreness or tingling near your mouth that starts a few days before the sore appears), apply ice to the sore spot for a few minutes. If the cold sore does develop, chilling it still helps to reduce it’s lifespan. Keep the sore hydrated by using a cold compress. This prevents the sore from becoming too crusty and red.

Prescription Treatment

Some people have cold sore outbreaks fairly often, so our Yuba City family dentist can prescribe antiviral medications that help to control and prevent frequent outbreaks. As mentioned earlier, experience helps you to predict cold sores. Taking medication right away may prevent them from appearing.

Laser Treatment

Finally, the gold standard for cold sore treatment is the use of lasers to remove the lesion. If timed properly, laser treatment can stop budding cold sores from reaching the full-blown stage. Existing cold sores are cleared up more rapidly after receiving laser therapy. This exceptional service is available on short notice from the Yuba City Dentistry Group.

Cold Sore Prevention

To prevent secondary infection and limit the possibility of future outbreaks, change your toothbrush after a cold sore goes away. While you have the cold sore, keep up your normal daily dental care routine to maintain your oral health. Don’t touch the cold sore, to help avoid transmitting the virus to other parts of your body or to others. Feel free to talk to our Yuba City dental professionals for help with your dental concerns. Your oral health and well-being are important to us!


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It’s kind of weird to say this, but it’s always a pleasure to go to this Dennis from Dr. Cheema all the way down to the front office staff. Everybody is so nice and very attentive to my needs. Thank you very much. I’ll be back to get my final crown.