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Fever blisters (or cold sores) can occur on the outside of the mouth anytime, and are caused by a virus–the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 or HSV-2). It is a highly contagious virus, and you may be even feel a tingling or burning before the fluid-filled blister shows up, oozes fluid and then crusts over.  It is estimated that up to 80 percent of the population carries this virus. Your dentist can help you if you are experiencing fever blisters.

Dentists Can Help By

— Diagnosing fever blister herpes through a visual exam.

— Reviewing your medical history.

— Prescribing antiviral medications such as antiviral acyclovir (Zovirax). This cream or ointment reduces the duration of an outbreak. Take care to wash your hands after touching blisters to apply ointment to prevent transmission.

— Recommending Vitamin C or a multivitamin to support your immune system.

— Recommending UV protection with SPF15 when exposed to the sun.

— Recommending stress reducing strategies (yoga, meditation, nature walks, deep breathing, music, etc.)

Preventing Transmission:

Viral at any stage, the herpes virus is most contagious when the blisters are oozing. You should avoid sharing eating utensils, razors, towels, and close contact such as kissing during this time. Also, your toothbrush can transmit the virus just by touching the edge of the toothpaste tube and then the next user touches the contaminated paste with their toothbrush. It is also a good idea to replace your toothbrush after an outbreak.

Although the blisters disappear without treatment after 2-4 weeks, the herpes simplex virus remains behind in one of your facial nerves, and when something triggers it, travels to the skin and breaks out in blisters. The most common trigger is emotional stress and a weakened immune system. Other triggers include viral infection or fever, hormonal changes, and even exposure to sunlight and wind.

If you are experiencing fever blisters or cold sores, or just have questions, our team at Jupina Dental is happy to help. You can reach us at 510.783.1414 today!