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Stomatitis/Canker Sore/Cold Sore

Stomatitis, a general term for an inflamed and sore mouth, can disrupt a person’s ability to eat, talk, and sleep. It can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the inside of the cheeks, gums, tongue, lips, and palate.

Types of stomatitis include:

Canker sores can be a single pale or yellow ulcer or a cluster of such ulcers in the mouth, usually on the cheeks, tongue, or inside the lip.

Nobody knows what exactly causes canker sores, but many things may contribute to their development, such some medications, trauma to the mouth, poor nutrition, stress, bacteria or viruses, lack of sleep, sudden weight loss, a weakened immune system because of a cold or flu, hormonal changes, or low levels of vitamin B12 or folate.

Canker Sores:

  • Can be painful
  • Usually last 5-10 days
  • Tend to come back
  • Are generally not associated with fever

 

Cold Sores are also called fever blisters and are fluid-filled sores that occur on or around the lips, on the gums, or the roof of the mouth. Cold sores later crust over with a scab and are usually associated with tenderness or burning before the actual sores appear.

A virus called Herpes Simplex Type 1 causes cold sores. Unlike Canker sores, cold sores are contagious from the time the blister ruptures until it has completely healed. The initial infection often occurs before adulthood and can be mistaken for a cold or the flu. Once the person is infected with the virus, it stays dormant in the body and can be reactivated by such conditions as stress, fever, trauma, hormonal changes (such as menstruation), and exposure to the sun.

When sores reappear, they tend to form in the same location. In addition to spreading to other people, the virus can spread to another body part of the affected person, such as the eyes or the genitals.

Cold Sores:

  • Are usually painful
  • Are usually gone in 7-10 days
  • Are sometimes associated with cold or flu-like symptoms

Most cold sores heal on their own. You can manage your symptoms at home by:

  • Taking Ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) or acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) to reduce pain.
  • To sooth a sore mouth use a mouth rinse that has baking soda.
  • Avoid foods that contain acid (such as citrus fruits and tomatoes).

For Cold or Canker Sores first try over-the-counter medications. Use nonprescription ointments that can relieve pain and help heal the cold sore. Some products such as Abreva or Zilactin can speed the healing of cold sores or prevent them if applied early enough. Other products such as Orajel and Anbesol can numb sore areas in the mouth or on the lips.

You can reduce the frequency of cold sore outbreaks by taking the following steps:

  • Avoid prolonged exposure of your lips to sunlight
  • Avoid intimate contact (such as kissing) with people who have cold sores
  • Avoid foods that seem to cause cold sores to recur (nuts, chocolate, or gelatin)
  • Avoid sharing towels

Call  Urgent Dental Care  at 314-423-0000 for an appointment.

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