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You're dressing for a special event when a familiar tingling sensation crosses your lips. One quick look in the mirror confirms an unsightly and irritating cold sore. One remedy may be the aloe vera plant, which has been used to heal skin for more than 2,000 years and recently has gained attention as an alternative treatment for some oral health problems including canker sores, cold sores, and lichen planus and gingivitis, according to the January/February 2005 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.
Long recognized for relieving itchy skin, poison ivy and burns, the gel from the aloe vera plant is gaining attention for curing ulcerated lesions, both in and outside of the mouth. The news is good for a growing segment of the population seeking natural treatments for common health problems.
"There is good evidence to support using aloe vera for oral health problems," says AGD spokesperson Kenton A. Ross, DMD, FAGD. "I believe a number of patients will be interested in this inexpensive alternative."
Reviewed: January 2012
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