Mouth sores: Common complaints of students

December 10, 2003

Students have a high prevalence of canker sores or cold sores yet the sores seemed to appear less frequently after graduation when stress levels were lower, according to a report that appears in the November/December 2003 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, generally occur inside the mouth, are bacterial in nature and are not contagious. Stress, genetics, trauma, medications, hormones, food allergies or an unrelated medical problem can trigger canker sores.

Canker sore treatment includes over-the-counter oral anesthetics. A dentist can develop a treatment plan with more serious outbreaks.

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are most often found around the mouth but sometimes occur on the gums or roof of the mouth, are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) and are highly contagious.

"A cold sore progresses through different stages and the infected individual is contagious through the entire process," says James J. Sciubba, DMD, PhD, lead report author.

"If cold sores are caught during the tingling stage, a topical medication can be applied, which will prevent the sore from erupting the majority of the time," says Eric Shapira, DDS, MAGD, AGD spokesperson.

An anti-viral medication can be prescribed in serious cases. Ice cubes can be applied directly to the sores to help relieve the pain.

-end-


Academy of General Dentistry

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