When it comes to our health we don’t normally think about the large opening in between our chin and nose. We brush our teeth (hopefully twice a day, food and our favorite beverages enter it every day and we need it in order to communicate with others.
Cold sores, canker sores and dry mouth are common problems that people suffer with but are not always recognized or treated. Quantum Health, the makers of natural products that help heal these conditions want to share with Healthy Moms readers the signs, symptoms of these problems and what you can do to have a healthy, happy mouth.
(Source quantumhealth.com)”Cold Sores – Everything You Need to Know
Compiled by David Shaw for “It’s Your Health”
What are cold sores?
Cold sores are small blisters that form around the mouth that are clear and filled with fluid. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus which lives inside nerve tissue. It is estimated that 80% of the population carry the virus and 60 million people have outbreaks once or more per year. Cold sores are also known as fever blisters or Herpes Simplex or HSV1 This is not the same as genital herpes.
What happens the first time you get a cold sore?
Generally, people first get it when they are infants or children. Interestingly enough, only about 20% of those carrying the virus ever get symptoms – that is, break out in actual cold sores. The sores can appear within days or weeks or even years following that first exposure to the virus. The first time symptoms appear they are usually more intense that subsequent outbreaks. For example some people experience more pain at the blister site or even flu-like symptoms including swollen glands, fever or sore throat.
Canker sore VS Cold sore
Cold sores usually appear around the mouth while canker sores appear in the mouth. Cold sores are caused by a virus while canker sores are caused by bacteria. If a cold sore is in the mouth, it’s usually on the roof of the mouth.
What makes cold sores appear?
Cold sores can be triggered by sunlight, fever, illness, stress, arginine rich foods such as chocolate, food allergies or hormonal changes.
Are cold sores contagious?
Yes. Don’t kiss anyone when you have an outbreak. Avoid sharing eating utensils, toothbrushes, razors and towels.
What are the stages of a cold sore?
Cold sores, untreated, can last up 14 days. Beginning treatment at the first sign of tingling can reduce the time to as little as 2-4 days. Beginning treatment after the blister appears can also significantly reduce the time and degree of pain.
Day 1: Prodrome (tingle) stage – Before a blister appears, one usually feels a tingling, itching or burning sensation beneath the skin, usually around the mouth or the base of the nose. This is the best time to start treatment.(1)
Days 2 to 3: The blister(s) appear.
Day 4: Ulcer or weeping stage – This is when the blister opens up revealing a reddish area. One is most contagious and in the most pain.(2)
Days 5 to 8: Crusting stage – The blisters dry up and a crust forms which is yellow or brown in color. Do not pick at this crust.(3)
Days 9 to 14: Healing stage – A series scabs will form over the sore, each smaller than the previous one until the cold sore is completely healed.
(1,2,3) – In the SCU study, 40% of those using Quantum’s product avoided an outbreak. In addition, most participants skipped the blister, ulcer and crusting stages.
A Strategy For Canker Sore Prevention – Causes And Triggers
According to Dr. Ethan Schuman, a St. Louis dentist whose specializes in advanced dental technologies, “There is no one thing that causes a canker sore. But there are events or chemicals that are likely to cause them and if the patient can associate the outbreak with the trigger, then he/she may possibly avoid getting the sores.”
Dr. Schuman suggests that watching for key triggers such as toothpaste type, mouth injuries, and nutritional deficiencies can make the difference.
Here’s what to look for.
Toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain SLS:
Toothpastes with sodium lauryl sulfate (“SLS”), a foaming agent in toothpastes and mouthwashes, may increase the recurrence rate of canker sores. SLS dries oral tissues, making them vulnerable to irritants.
Several studies show that participants who brush with SLS-free toothpaste reduce the frequency of canker sore recurrence, in one study by as much as 81%. In this same study some of the participants reported that using SLS-free toothpaste also reduced canker sore severity. There are SLS free products available.
Injury, often from a self-inflicted bite or irritation caused by braces can cause canker sores. 38% of the participants of one study felt that their canker sores were precipitated by trauma.
Many people report that the ulcers coincide with periods of stress.
Some of the nutritional deficiencies correlated with the presence of canker sores are B vitamins, zinc, folic acid and selenium.
Since canker sores are caused by our bodies’ immune response, it makes sense that they can be triggered by food allergies. Any substance that contacts the oral tissues may lead to an overzealous immune response.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), beta blockers, and chemotherapy may increase the frequency of canker sores
One study found that 35% of those persons who get canker sores have at least one parent who suffers from them.
Canker Sore Prevention
If a canker sore appears shortly after a ‘trigger’ event, then there may be a relationship. Recurrent canker sores may be the result of nutritional deficiencies. A patient who has regular problems with canker sores should have blood tests to determine possible vitamin deficiencies, and to determine potential problems with allergies. It may be helpful to keep a “food diary” to determine potential allergies or food irritants.
Other canker sore prevention tactics include:
-Avoid SLS toothpastes and mouthwashes.
-Include yogurt and other cultured, soured dairy products in your diet.
-Avoid tobacco, chewing gum, and lozenges.
-Avoid citrus fruits.
-Eat salads and raw onions.
-Do not take iron supplements unless prescribed by a doctor.
Canker Sore Treatments
Treatments are inexpensive and plentiful but few actually speed healing. Most numb the pain and a few also contain anti-bacterial agents primarily used to prevent secondary infections, which are rare.
Dr. Schuman has been using a treatment based on an exciting new technology. The product is Canker Cover, a small tablet-like patch that adheres to the sore forming a clear gel-like cover that protects it from irritants while speeding healing.
“Canker Cover has very significant supporting clinical evidence for its efficacy”, said Dr. Schuman. “In simple language, the 248 person primary study demonstrates that in most cases, a single patch healed the sore, and that every user experienced immediate pain relief and total protection from food and drink irritants for 8 hours or more.”
Dry Mouth Symptoms and Causes
What Is Dry Mouth?
Commonly called ‘cotton mouth’ or the ‘pasties’. Dry mouth occurs when there is a lack of saliva in the mouth or throat area. What causes dry mouth can be much more difficult to ascertain. If you suffer from dry mouth or chronic dry mouth, then you understand that the symptoms, although considered ‘minor’, are anything but. Many dry mouth symptoms can be debilitating in many ways and can cause constant discomfort, distracting sufferers from the everyday activities others take for granted. This article describes the many symptoms and causes of dry mouth; for treatment options, please see our article on dry mouth treatments.
Human saliva, which is produced by the salivary glands, consists of 98% water, but also contains enzymes, electrolytes, mucus, and anti-bacterial compounds. Saliva serves to lubricate and protect the tongue, teeth, and tender tissues of the mouth. It also begins the digestive process, and breaks down food caught in the teeth, protecting the teeth from cavities. Insufficient saliva production can lead to bad breath, increased cavities, difficulty in speaking and eating, and discomfort.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
There are many causes of dry mouth including aging, health conditions, OTC or prescription drugs, surgery, or lifestyle, Some causes are easily correctible with lifestyle changes. Other causes of dry mouth are rooted in medications or illnesses and are more difficult to treat. Finding the cause of dry mouth can, in some cases, be quite tricky. Taking the time find the cause can be of significant value when treating dry mouth symptoms. Here is a list of known causes.
Smoking can decrease saliva production and should be considered when determining what causes your dry mouth. Chewing tobacco can also have the same effect. Therefore, decreasing or quitting smoking can reduce or eradicate dry mouth for some sufferers. Alcoholic beverages and products containing caffeine (coffee, tea, soft drinks, etc.) can also cause dry mouth through dehydration. Breathing through the mouth for prolonged periods (especially while sleeping) can exacerbate a problem with dry mouth.
Medication Side Effects:
More than one thousand prescription and OTC drugs cause dry mouth. In one study, patients taking 3 or more prescription drugs had a 60% chance of suffering from dry mouth. Antihistamines, pain relievers, blood pressure medications, antidepressants, chemotherapy, muscle relaxants, hypertension, obesity, acne, mental disorders, asthma, epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease and diuretic medication can all cause dry mouth. Consult your physician if you think your prescription may be causing a drop in salivary production resulting in dry mouth.
Diseases, Infections and Medical Conditions:
Dry mouth can also be attributed to certain diseases or infections or medical conditions including HIV/AIDS, Diabetes, Anemia, Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, the mumps or a stroke.
Medical Treatment Side Effects:
Some medical treatments can cause dry mouth as a side effect. Radiation treatment and chemotherapy in the head region can cause damage to the salivary glands, which can cause chronic dry mouth.
Trauma or Surgery:
In some cases, trauma or injury to the mouth or throat can cause irreversible damage to the salivary glands. In some cases, nerve damage to the neck and head can also cause the salivary glands to produce less saliva. Some surgical procedures run the risk of damaging the salivary glands, thus reducing the production of saliva. All of the above should be considered when attempting to determine what causes dry mouth.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
If dry mouth is not properly treated, it can lead to more serious dry mouth symptoms such as gum disease and cavities. This is because the saliva that normally protects the gums and teeth is significantly reduced or is no longer present. Lack of saliva can leave the mucosa (mucus membrane) of the mouth vulnerable to infections or decrease protection against other infections of the mouth such as thrush (yeast infection).
There are many symptoms of dry mouth, some of which cause great discomfort or even pain to the sufferer.
Below is a list of common dry mouth symptoms:
* Saliva that seems thick, stringy
* A dry, sticky feeling in the mouth
* Halitosis (bad breath)
* A dry hoarseness of the throat
* A dry, irritable and scratchy tongue
* A burning or tingling sensation of your tongue
* Difficulty speaking
* Inability to chew, swallow or taste food
* Dry nasal passages
* Painful sores of the mouth and tongue
* Chapped lips
* Increased plaque, tooth decay and gum disease
If dry mouth is not properly treated, it can lead to more serious dry mouth symptoms such as gum disease and cavities. This is because the saliva that normally protects the gums and teeth is significantly reduced or is no longer present. Lack of saliva can leave the mucosa (mucus membrane) of the mouth vulnerable to infections or decrease protection against other infections of the mouth such as thrush (yeast infection).” Visit QuantumHealth.com for more articles on oral care.
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Canker Cover is the only over-the-counter canker sore treatment shown in clinical studies to significantly speed treatment. The pill shaped patch adheres to the sore and forms a gel patch that protects the sore, relieves the pain, and speeds treatment. In two separate clinical studies, Canker Cover was shown to heal most canker sores within 24 hours and to be more effective than benzocaine, the active ingredient in most canker sores products, at eliminating pain. Canker Cover is also made from natural ingredients including natural menthol, citrus oil and sea salt, which dissolves over time, offering immediate pain relief upon application while covering and protecting the lesion from bacteria and other irritants (e.g., movement, food, drink, orthodontia/dental appliances, etc.) for eight to 12 hours. Canker Cover retails for $9.99 for a box of six patches; available at drug stores, supermarkets and health food stores nationwide, and online at www.cankercover.com. The makers of Canker Cover are also offering a limited edition of $2 coupons for Healthy Moms readers Click here to get yours!
OraMoist Dry Mouth Patch is a revolutionary, time-released, muco-adhesive patch powered by edible natural ingredients that adheres to the roof of the mouth or inside the cheek. As the patch dissolves over two to four hours, it releases ingredients that help increase saliva production alleviating parched, dry mouth. The increased moisture also helps restore a healthy oral environment, a significant benefit for dry mouth sufferers. OraMoist Dry Mouth Patch has been clinically proven effective in terms of increased saliva production and improved feeling of moistness. OraMoist retails for $9.99 for a box of 16 patches; available at Rite Aid, Albertson’s LLC and Raley’s, and online at www.oramoist.com. The makers of OraMoist are also offering a limited edition of $3 coupons, good at Rite Aid, for Healthy Moms readers. Click here to get yours!
You can also check out Quantum Health’s new Healthy Mouth, Happy Mouth Facebook page. Become a fan and learn more about their products, get dental/oral health news, and ask oral care questions for their expert dentist Dr. Chris Kammer.
*Disclaimer I received Lip Clear Lysine, Canker Cover oral canker sore patch, and OraMoist time released dry mouth disk from Quantum Health in exchange for this article. The information that I used was provided by Quantum Health.
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