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Everything You Need to Know About Cold Sores

May 12, 2022 / DENTISTRY

Do you experience cold sores? If so, you’re not alone. According to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, studies estimate that nearly 90% of Canadians have been exposed to the virus that causes cold sores, and while this virus may never evolve into cold sores for many of these people, suffering from cold sores is a very common thing.

What is a cold sore?

Cold sores are small blisters that are filled with fluid, most commonly found on and around your mouth and lips. They can present as one single blister, or as a group of cold sores that appears like a patch on your skin. Like most blisters, cold sores will eventually break open, forming a scab that can last for several days.

I have a cold sore. Now what?

Cold sores can be very painful and avoiding certain foods can spare you a lot of discomfort.

These include:

  • Citrus fruits – Imagine having a cut on your finger and accidentally filling it with lemon juice. Ouch. Well, eating citrus fruits when you have a cold sore is a very similar feeling.
  • Pickled foods – Any pickled foods are highly acidic and will sting badly if they come in contact with a cold sore.
  • Spicy foods – Spicy foods like curry and peppers can irritate the area around your cold sore, so best to stick with milder options while you recover from this virus.
  • Large foods – The skin around your cold sores is delicate and sensitive, so avoid stretching it by opening your mouth wide to eat large foods like pizza slices or chips. Instead, opt for foods that come in small pieces or are easy to cut and bite.

Aside from avoiding certain foods, there are home remedies you can try to alleviate the discomfort caused by your cold sores.

These include:

  • Over the counter anti-viral ointments – these are most effective if you start using them in the early stages of your cold sore.
  • Pain relief gel – this is another over-the-counter option that can help numb the area and take away some of the sting.
  • Ice chips, ice cubes, or cold compresses – use these to numb the area but avoid placing them directly on the skin.
  • If your doctor recommends it, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Most cold sores heal on their own within 2-4 weeks.

If you are overdue for a dental visit or want to discuss your cold sores with an oral health professional, call the team at Caledon Dental Centre today. We’ll assess your condition and work together to find a treatment plan that best meets your needs.