Toothpaste on Cold Sores: Does It Work?

fever-blister-on-lipMany of you are used to treating your cold sores by putting toothpaste or salt on it overnight. No doubt, by doing so it helps alleviate the symptoms and makes you feel more comfortable. But the bad news is that home remedies like this are not a cure for this condition. More precisely, so far there is no cure for this ailment yet.

You may not know that Herpes labialis, also called cold sores or fever blister, is actually caused by Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (or HSV-1), instead of a cold virus just as its name suggests. This commonly occurring ailment is characterized by clusters of small blisters on the lip and outer edge of the mouth. They are painful and ugly. A kid is more susceptible to getting them. Typically, the children infected by this virus will heal themselves in 7-10 days. However, the virus will continue to stay in the body for some time, and even always lurk there. But more often, it attacks your body from time to time and leads to repeated episodes. Usually, it is thought to be associated with too much stress, lack of sleep, and decreased immunity due to a cold or flu.

So back to toothpaste treatment. It is recommended to use ice to make the swelling go down and clean up the affected area before applying a thin layer of toothpaste. Just remember to always use the paste instead of the gel toothpaste and apply it several times a day. In addition, it needs to regularly clean the affected area.

There are many cold sore home remedies and many of them involve toothpaste. One of the most popular one is mixing toothpaste and salt. But you should be aware that most of these remedies are without scientific evidence, let alone salt tends to cause pain in herpes. The similar methods also include adding lemon juice, which obviously can result in the same problem. If such a mixture causes severe pain, it is best to gently wipe with a soft towel and rinse it with cold water.

In short, more researches are needed to confirm the benefits of such remedies. Some studies have found that a specific component called sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste may cause irritation and mouth ulcers and make cold sores worse. For that reason, you are recommended to go shopping for a natural or an SLS-free one.

Some drugs can replace the toothpaste to treat cold sores. If you have severe pain, the doctor may prescribe acetaminophen or ibuprofen. In addition, there is evidence that acyclovir and other antiviral creams can help treat this condition. Besides, be sure to pay attention to a number of predisposing factors, such as fatigue, stress, excessive sunlight exposure, and cold or flu since they will greatly increase the risk of developing this condition.

And it helps too by strengthening your immune system. The feasible ways include getting plenty of sleep, eating a variety of berries, jujube, green leafy vegetables and other foods high in vitamin C, and avoiding sugar-containing foods since too much sugar will weaken the immune system. In addition, it is a good idea to take more foods that are good for intestinal health, such as garlic, coconut oil, and cinnamon.

To be sure, toothpaste helps dry ulcers, makes them less conspicuous, and eases sharp or stabbing pain. Unfortunately, the relief does last long. So it is wise to consult a doctor before starting any home remedies. After all, so far in the medical profession no medication has not been found to completely cure cold sore. Luckily, this is not one of the life-threatening illnesses even though it is painful and annoying.

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