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Oral Health and Cold Sores

 

Oral health is quite important in order to have good life quality.  This is because our oral cavity goes beyond a nice smile.  It has a very important role which affects our whole body.

 

A healthy oral cavity reflects our healthy body.

 

Many diseases, such as cavities and tooth loss limit a person in their ability to bite, chew, smile, speak, and at the same time, it affects their psychosocial wellbeing.  Different studies show 60% to 90% of children worldwide have cavities, and these diseases may affect other dental pieces, which in most cases lead to infections and the loss of teeth.

 

Other practices, such as smoking and drinking alcohol may lead to oral cancer.  Approximately 1 to 10 of 100 000 people are suffering from this disease worldwide.

 

Many of these diseases are preventable by attacking the risk factors that lead to them, such as:

  • Reduction of sugar consumption in the diet and implementation of balanced foods in order to avoid cavities and the loss of dental pieces.
  • Elimination of smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages.
  • Including the daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.
  • A proper hydration and water consumption.
  • Using a toothbrush, mouth wash and dental floss in order to reduce bacterial plaque and tartar.

 

Cold Sores

 

Cold sores are ulcerous wounds on the oral mucosa, which can be located on gums, throat and uvula.  These are oval-shaped wounds with a reddish border and a whitish, clean background of up to 5 mm of diameter.  They can be accompanied by other wounds like this and create more extensive wounds, or they can be single wounds.  They are very painful, and they make it difficult for the person to perform simple activities such as talking, eating, kissing or brushing their teeth.

 

Cold sores are one of the most frequent oral wounds at all ages, and 20% of the population has then in a recurrent way.  This is why it is important to treat them with analgesics / anesthetics such as Finafta and Finafta Baby in order to relieve the discomfort cold sores produce.

 

These wounds are benign and self-limited, meaning they tend to disappear after 7 to 15 days on their own.  They do not have repercussions or a scar, but being so painful it is mostly necessary to treat them with anti-inflamatories.

 

Most times, they are caused by:

  • Local traumas, such as accidental biting.
  • Psychological stress.
  • Poor sleeping times.
  • Helicobacter pylori, which is the same bacteria that causes gastric ulcers.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux.
  • Foods such as chocolate, coffee and acid beverages on some people.
  • Vitamins and minerals deficiency such as vitamin B12, vitamin C, zinc, iron and folic acid.
  • Hormonal disorders during the menstrual cycle.
  • Drugs such as Rapamycin, Methotrexate, Aspirin and Atenolol.

 

Regarding the treatment, there are no substances that cure the ulcer overnight.  Cold sores usually last up to two weeks, which is why I recommend the use of an analgesic such as Finafta in order to relief the discomfort during the healing process.

 

Dr. Marco Pérez

MD 10961

San José, Costa Rica

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