Ways to Combat Viruses in the Mouth
During cold and flu season, patients contract many viruses in the mouth that can affect oral health. While many of these effects are temporary, you should be aware of the types of mouth viruses and how to treat them.
Types of Mouth Viruses
Viruses can result in a number of nasty infections that can be annoying and painful at times. One of the most common viruses that create oral symptoms is herpes simplex virus type 1, which causes cold sores to form in and around the mouth. The small blisters typically fall off themselves within one to two weeks.
Cold sores are unfortunately very contagious. Most people contract the virus by the time they are 20 because something as simple as sharing a drink can cause the virus to spread unnoticed. Luckily, the virus usually only causes a few cold sores to spring up, and then only because of some other impetus (like a fever or undue stress).
Other virus-caused infections include herpangina and gingivostomatitis, both of which involve the formation of painful sores and lesions. Both infections start with cold-like symptoms (for example a fever or sore throat) that die down as the lesions start forming. Thankfully, the painful sores usually fade within a week, but even one week can be problematic because the blisters make eating painful at times.
Unfortunately, like many common viruses, infection from mouth viruses can be difficult to prevent. The best way to combat mouth viruses is simply to keep your mouth clean.
Brushing and flossing at least twice a day is definitely a good place to start–that makes sure that the bacteria in your mouth are thoroughly dealt with at least daily. Adding extra brushing sessions after eating sugary or starchy foods can help get rid of anything bacteria and viruses might like to eat.
For extra cleanliness, consider using special fluoride toothpastes and anti-tartar toothpastes for extra protection. The fluoride can get rid of plaque and help strengthen the protective coating called enamel on your teeth. Anti-tartar toothpastes are similar, but are designed to tackle tartar, which is the hardened plaque that sticks around your gums that can also cause other complications like gingivitis.
Perhaps most importantly, make sure you regularly visit a dentist. Not only can dentists diagnose and treat any oral problems you might have, they can help you get rid of the plaque that even the best brushing can’t dissolve. Contact ICC Smiles to set up an appointment to talk about your oral health today!