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Canker/Cold Sores: How to Treat Them?


Canker sores and cold sores are often confused, but they are completely unrelated. Both can be painful, but knowing the differences can help you treat them.


A canker sore/aphthous ulcer is typically one that occurs on the delicate tissues inside your mouth. It is usually light coloured in the middle and can have a red exterior border. Hormonal imbalances, food allergies and environmental sensitivities, immune response or trauma can cause cankers. They are not contagious. They can be treated with over-the-counter gels containing a topical painkiller and aloe. It usually takes 7 days to heal. If it is treated with the laser you will usually feel improvement with pain right away and the healing time speeds up.


A cold sore / fever blister / herpes lesion on the other hand, usually occurs on the outside of the mouth, usually on the lip border, around nose and sometimes in the eye which is quite dangerous. The outbreak can be triggered by stress, fever, sun, wind, low immune system when you starting a cold, flu or other illness, or almost anything. A cold sore is contagious because it is caused by the herpes simplex virus, and the lesion is filled with fluid containing more viruses. It is very important to contain the virus and not let it spread. After it is healed, it still resides in the nerve endings around the lips, but in the dormant (inactive) form. It waits for the next opportunity to strike. It can be treated successfully with prescription antiviral medication or over the counter gels. When it is treated with the laser it shortens duration of the outbreak and it is thought that the laser kills the virus in the nerve endings, so it doesn’t return in the same area or doesn’t return at all. It is important to start the laser treatment as soon as you feel tingling in your lips. It is also important to call your dental hygienist, who practice laser therapy, as soon as possible to book an emergency appointment for laser. It is quick and easy. To prevent the outbreaks, you may use some supplements. Lysine in capsules has very strong antiviral properties. You may use a lip balm with Lysine too to condition your lips. Quercetin in combination with Zinc is also a very good prevention.

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