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Cold sores, by their very nature, are pretty inconvenient and annoying. But that doesn't mean that we’re powerless when they pop up. There are things that we can do to stay comfortable during an outbreak, and minimize the risk of spreading infection. Keep reading to learn more from our dentists at Saint Louis County Dental.

Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are the result of HSV-1 infection. There is no cure for HSV-1, but there are medications that can minimize its virility.

Some people with HSV-1 never experience an outbreak; they may not even know they have it. Most people, however, will notice some symptoms shortly have HSV-1 exposure. They may have individual sore or blisters, sensitive oral tissues, and swollen lymph nodes. For some patients, this is it; they’ll never see symptomology beyond the primary outbreak. 

However, many people deal with recurrent sores; these lesions pop up periodically, especially when triggered by… 

  • Stress
  • Illness—like a cold or the flu
  • Sun exposure/sunburn
  • Hormonal shifts

Minimizing these triggers in your own life will help to keep cold sores at bay. 

When you do have an active outbreak, you should take special precautions to minimize the spread of HSV-1.

  • Don’t share utensils or drinks
  • Don’t share beauty products or lip balm
  • Refrain from kissing

The best thing that you can do in these situations is to allow the cold sore to run its course with as little disruption as possible. You can use topical creams and gels to nourish the skin, aid in healing, and desensitize the area. You can also ice lesions to bring down swelling while numbing your lip. While you are treating your cold sore, make sure that you are not picking at the skin or otherwise disrupting the healing process. Allow the cold sore to scab over naturally—this is a good sign!

Our Saint Louis dentists are here to help you manage HSV-1, so give us a call to schedule a personal consultation! 

When it comes to making decisions about your smile, you want to make sure that you’re working with the best information available. In this short article, our Saint Louis dentists are addressing some commonly spread myths about dental treatment and oral health. We hope that this helps you better understand your treatment options. 

  • Day-glo teeth: many people are afraid that if they undergo professional dental whitening, they’ll end up with enamel that is too white and bright. Well, this simply isn’t how whitening treatments work. The whitening formulations we use are designed to lift stains from the dental surface, thus returning the smile to its previous level of whiteness.
  • Brushing is always beneficial: the ADA recommends that patients brush their teeth every morning and every night before bed. You should absolutely follow this guideline, or the recommendations your dentists give you to replace it. However, talk to your dentist if you want to brush your smile more frequently. There is such a thing as brushing too much—doing so can lead to enamel thinning as well as gum tissue damage. Plus, you want to make sure not to brush for about 20 to 30 minutes after acid exposure, as your enamel is temporarily softened for this period of time.
  • Bad breath is a superficial issue: too many of us try to treat chronic bad breath with products like breath mints, gum, and oral sprays. This is because we are trying to address the symptom, rather than the actual issue. The truth is that bad breath can actually indicate an underlying oral health problem, like gum disease or dental cavities. In order to conquer bad breath for good, you have to improve your oral health.

In our Saint Louis dental office, we take the time to educate our patients on crucial oral health issues, So, if you have lingering questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us!


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