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Dental care and oral health information you need
from the Academy of General Dentistry

Thursday, January 18, 2018
Know Your Teeth Academy of General Dentistry Know Your Teeth


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Pacifiers Have Negative and Positive Effects


There is an association between pacifier use and acute middle ear infections (otitis media).

Press Releases

Oral Herpes: A Sore Subject

CHICAGO (February 18, 2009) - Cold sores—commonly known as oral herpes or fever blisters—tend to have a cruel sense of humor. These wicked, little social-spoilers are painful, unsightly, and seem to have a predisposition to pop up just before a first date, job interview, dance, high school reunion or wedding.


Cold sores are groups of often-painful blisters filled with fluid that appear around the lips and sometimes under the nose. Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) living inside the nerve tissue. Other causes include ill-fitting dentures, braces, the sharp edge of a broken tooth or bacteria, according to an article in AGD Impact, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) monthly newsmagazine. The National Institutes of Health reports that HSV-1 infects more than half of the U.S. population by the time they reach their 20s.


A person usually experiences his or her first cold sore infection in childhood, according to AGD spokesperson Maharukh E. Kravich, DDS. "The first time a person gets the lesions it can be quite painful—especially in babies," she says. "The child should be taken to the doctor immediately when this is evident." Once a person has had a cold sore, the virus stays in the body and can become active throughout the person's life.


Infection tends to recur when the virus is reactivated by a trigger such as decreased immune response, lack of sleep, stress or trauma. Dr. Kravich says that "the important thing is to not spread the virus when it is in this active stage to other sites of the body or to another person." Cold sores are highly contagious and can be transmitted orally or genitally by intimate physical contact with others and sharing eating utensils, toothbrushes, towels and razors. If the virus is transmitted or contracted, sores usually develop anywhere from two to 12 days after exposure to an infected person. Other persons with a primary infection may have flu-like symptoms such as a high fever, sore throat, swollen neck glands and mouth soreness.


Cold sores are common and rarely cause complications. Outbreaks are usually mild and do not last longer than two weeks; however, Dr. Kravich advises, "Should the lesions be spread to a wide area and/or spread down the throat and affect swallowing, eating, or drinking, then the patient should contact their dentist and physician." If a cold sore causes discomfort, your dentist might prescribe antiviral medications to reduce the frequency, duration and severity of outbreaks.  "Some dentists are using laser treatments that can eradicate the lesions and help in healing the area," Dr. Kravich says. Most importantly, it is best to see your dentist so that he or she can accurately diagnose cold sores and base treatment on important factors such as age, overall health, medical history and tolerance for specific medications.


How to minimize recurrent outbreaks:

  • Eat foods high in lysine (an amino acid found in red meats, fish, and dairy products) or take supplements

  • Apply sunscreen to the face and lips before going outdoors

  • Shave with a disposable razor during an outbreak

  • Replace your toothbrush

  • Engage in relaxing activities to reduce stress

The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is a professional association of more than 35,000 general dentists dedicated to staying up-to-date in the profession through continuing education. Founded in 1952, the AGD has grown to become the world's second largest dental association, which is the only association that exclusively represents the needs and interests of general dentists. A general dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management and overall coordination of services related to patients' oral health needs. Learn more about AGD member dentists or find more information on dental health topics at www.KnowYourTeeth.com.

Note: Information that appears in General Dentistry, the AGD's peer-reviewed journal, AGD Impact, the AGD's newsmagazine and related press releases do not necessarily reflect the endorsement of the AGD.


*For a complete list of oral health and industry press releases, visit the AGD News Releases.

Need help?
Contact the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD)'s public relations team:

Lauren Henderson

Public Service Announcement (PSA) —Dry mouth with background musicMP3
PSA—Dry mouth without background musicMP3
PSA—Your Mouth: A Window To Your Body WMV (Requires Windows Media Player)