Top Mouth Problems
As I move on the streets of Lagos or other parts of the country, I see different mouth or dental cases. Ranging from the seemingly common one, bad breath to clefts. Sometimes I mourn within thinking if the sufferers are aware that some of these cases could have been prevented if only they took caution or paid special attention to their mouth as they do to their faces and other times, I just walk away wishing they get healed.
There is a specialty in dentistry called Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMS) which specializes in treating many diseases, injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws and the hard and soft tissues of the Oral (mouth) and Maxillofacial (jaws and face) region. It is an internationally recognized surgical specialty. The specialists here are responsible for correcting whatever defect that emanates from mouth disorders thus affecting your face which in turn affects your looks.
That said, I would be talking about some top mouth disorders in later posts. The mouth is a very special part of the body that has a hand in how we look, by this I mean our face. This is because the mouth houses the teeth and the arrangement of the teeth goes a long way in determining how we look.
Today, let’s consider what is known as Cold Sores
They are inflamed blister in or near the mouth, caused by infection with the herpes simplex virus. They develop on the lips or around the mouth.
You will not have any symptoms when you first become infected with the herpes simplex virus.
Cold sores often start with a tingling, itching or burning sensation around your mouth. Small fluid-filled sores will then appear, most commonly on the edges of your lower lip.
As stated above, they are caused by herpes simplex virus, HSV. The strain responsible for this is the HSV-1. In rare cases, cold sores can also be caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). This can be the result of having oral sex with someone who has genital herpes. It is a very contagious virus.
After someone has contracted the virus, it remains dormant (inactive) for most of the time. It can however be activated by some triggers depending on people. These triggers include but not limited to fatigue, injury on the affected area and in women during their menstrual cycle.
TREATMENT OF COLD SORES
They usually clear up themselves within 7 to 10 days.
In some cases, antiviral creams are available over the counter from pharmacies without a prescription. If used correctly, these can help ease your symptoms and speed up the healing time. They should be used as soon as the symptoms appear (tingling etc). I n severe cases, antiviral tablets may be prescribed.
The major complication is dehydration which occurs when swallowing becomes tough. This is common in children.
It can also spread to other parts of the body causing whitlow. This is known as secondary infection.
Preventive medicine is very key and important.
However, you cannot completely prevent cold sores or herpes simplex virus infection but you can prevent it from infecting others.
They are very contagious should they rupture.
Therefore, avoid contact with the following sets of people :
- HIV patients
- newborn babies so they don’t get neonatal herpes
- people undergoing chemotherapy as their immune system is low.
Be sure to visit your dentist should you discover that healing is prolonged.
Remember, Health is life