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Common Mouth and Lip Problems

Cold sores, mouth ulcers, dry mouth and problem breath are all common occurrences at the OTC counter.

Cold sores are caused by the Herpes Simplex virus, once contracted the first time, it lies dormant on a nerve and can recur again at any time. Triggers can include stress, sun, cold, hormonal changes. If a product containing Aciclovir 5% e.g. Zovirax, Viralief is applied at the first tingle of a cold sore, it can halt it's development. The Aciclovir reduces down the healing time required if the cold sore is already at a blister stage and can reduce down the size and severity of the cold sore. A good supplement to consider is Lysine. Users find that while taking Lysine, the number of cold sores and the severity of them is drastically reduced. It can be taken during an outbreak aswell at a higher dose.

Mouth Ulcers are sores that appear inside the mouth, more usually on the cheeks. They can cause pain when eating, drinking and brushing. They are usually harmless and will disappear on their own, however, treatments are available over the counter to speed up recovery and give relief. Aloclair gel, is an aloe vera based gel that forms a protective barrier over the ulcer, it allows eating and drinking to become less irritant to the ulcer and soothes the red, sore area. Bonjela is an anti-inflammatory that can be rubbed onto the ulcer to give pain relief. Medijel is another option that has an anaesthetic to numb the painful area. A useful supplement here is Vitamin B12. Stress can be a trigger aswell as dietary problems so a multi-vitamin containing zinc, folic acid and the B vitamins will give your immune system a boost e.g Pharmaton, Sona Multi-Plus, Centrum.

Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands in the mouth produce less saliva, this can be due to stress, side effects of some medications dry up the mouth, ageing, cancer treatments and some auto-immune disorders. Xerostom spray and gel contain a saliva substitute to relieve the symptoms.

Problem breath can be very embarrassing, if it's a persistent problem it could be a warning sign of gum disease, flossing and brushing regularly keep bacteria at bay and prevent dental caries and irritation to the gums. Antibacterial rinses like Curasept and Corsodyl can help kill bacteria in the mouth. Xerostomia or persistant dry mouth can also cause bad breath as saliva is needed to neutralise acids in the mouth and wash away food and bacteria from the teeth, tongue, gums and cheeks.

As always if you have any questions please don't hesitate to use our Live Chat | Email facility to ask a Pharmacist any questions.

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