Whether you have a prominent cold sore that is detracting from your appearance or an irritated canker sore that is making it difficult for you to feel at your best, you want to address your oral care problem and get relief from your symptoms. drugstore.com is here to help with a wide selection of canker and cold sore care products. We have solutions to alleviate pain and promote healing to help you deal with cold and canker sores effectively. read more about canker and cold sore relief »
Cold sores are blisters that usually form around the mouth or on or near the lips. Often painful, cold sores typically fill with fluid and can have a cloudy or milky appearance. Although the name suggests that cold sores are related to the common cold virus, the sores are actually caused by a virus called herpes simplex. This virus can lie dormant in the body and cause recurrent breakouts of cold sores throughout a person's life. Prior to an outbreak of a cold sore, you may feel tingling in the area where the sore is developing, and some people also develop low-grade fevers during cold sore outbreaks.
What Are Canker Sores?
Canker sores develop inside of the mouth but they usually do not form blisters or scab over. Also called aphthous ulcers, canker sores can form on nearly all of the soft tissues of the mouth, including along the cheeks, on the insides of the lips and on the tongue. The sores often appear as gray bumps surrounded by red inflamed skin and are usually very painful to the touch. Scientists are not sure what causes canker sores, and there are theories that they are related to various viruses, allergic reactions and immune system problems. Smoking, stress and irritation from orthodontic appliances and dentures also seem to play a role in the development of canker sores.
Over-the-Counter Remedies for Mouth Sores
At this time, there are no cures for canker sores or cold sores. As a result, treatment typically focuses on managing the symptoms of the sores. Often, this is done with products that contain anesthetics, medicinal ingredients that temporarily block nerve signals and dull feelings of pain. You can find anesthetics in lip balm, ointment, gel and liquid forms for easy application. Cold sore products may also contain moisturizers and skin conditioners like aloe vera to soften and soothe the lips. Your doctor can help you decide what type of cold or canker sore relief product is right for you.
Natural Solutions for Cold and Canker Sores
In addition to anesthetic remedies for cold and canker sores, you can find a number of natural solutions for these uncomfortable mouth sores on the market. Some of these products may contain lysine, an amino acid that has been shown in some small studies to decrease the risk of cold sore outbreaks. Others feature herbal extracts that are commonly used as folk remedies for cold and canker sores. Among these herbs are lemon balm, Siberian ginseng and peppermint oil. While some people are able to get relief with natural cold and canker sore remedies, there is not enough evidence to know for sure if any of these topical products can benefit all people who suffer from mouth sores.
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