Toothpaste On Cold Sores
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Toothpaste On Cold Sores: Does It Work?

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Tingling or itching around the lips is a distressing signal that a cold sore is on its way for sufferers of this chronic, recurring condition. The cluster of tiny blisters that soon appears is painful and can be embarrassing. Is it possible to stop a cold sore in its tracks? Toothpaste is one home remedy that's sometimes recommended as a cold sore preventative, but the jury is still out on its effectiveness.

Toothpaste on a Cold Sore:


Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is responsible for cold sores, and toothpaste contains a chemical that may suppress the virus. After the initial infection, HSV-1 lies dormant in the body until something triggers it to become active, and a cold sore develops. According to the Infectious Disease Research Center, the toothpaste

ingredient sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) suppresses the activity of the
virus. Therefore, if you apply toothpaste at the first sign of a cold sore outbreak, the sore may never appear or it won't last so long.

Toothpaste on a Cold Sore:


Only anecdotal evidence supports the idea that toothpaste is effective as a cold sore preventative. Though some people claim that toothpaste prevents their cold sores from appearing, researchers haven't carried out studies to investigate the facts. What's more, SLS in toothpaste can actually cause cold sore attacks.

Toothpaste on a Cold Sore:


If you'd like to try using toothpaste to prevent cold sores, apply a thin smear of a white, non-gel toothpaste to the place where you feel the itching or tingling that precedes a cold sore. Apply the paste before going to sleep at night and every hour or couple of hours during the day. To remove the toothpaste, wipe it with a soft facecloth soaked in warm water. You can also use toothpaste in the same way to help dry out the blisters if the cold sore appears, and return your skin to normal quickly.

Other Cold Sore Preventatives

According to the NHS, sunlight may be a trigger for cold sores, so
covering the skin around the lips with sunblock every day reduces the
risk of an outbreak. In addition, stress, fatigue, and even an upset stomach may trigger a cold sore. Unfortunately, no natural remedies have been proven to be effective in the treatment or prevention of cold sores, but taking care of yourself and paying attention to what triggers your cold sores may help you stay one step ahead. 

Prevention is better than cure, and cold sores usually g ive sufferers a warning that they're about to pay a visit. Smearing toothpaste on the itchy or tingly patch won't do any harm, and it may prevent the cold sore from making an appearance.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.