The painful sore on your lip, gum, inside the cheeks, on the tongue or on the roof of the mouth might be the symptom of oral herpes, which is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. Commonly known as cold sores, oral herpes is a contagious disease.
Causes of oral herpes
Two strains of the herpes simplex virus are associated with oral herpes. Majority of oral herpes infections are caused by the herpes simplex type 1 virus. This is the least dangerous herpes-causing virus. The herpes simplex type 2 virus accounts for about 20 percent cases of oral herpes infection. The herpes simplex virus enters your body when you are exposed to the saliva or come in contact with the skin or mucous membrane of a person infected with herpes.
Oral herpes prevention
Although oral herpes heals naturally in healthy individuals within less than a fortnight, it could cause health complications in unimmunized children and adults and elderly with poor immunity. Once the herpes simplex virus enters the body and multiplies, it would become quite difficult to eradicate the virus completely. You might be susceptible to recurrent oral herpes breakouts throughout your life. It is estimated that the herpes simplex virus is present in nearly 90 percent of all adults above 40 years of age. However, less than 40 percent suffer from diseases such as oral herpes.
Certain factors might trigger outbreak of oral herpes. Fever, pain, surgery, poor sleep, exposure to cold, strong wind and sun and menstruation could trigger oral herpes. People with weak immunity are most susceptible to this condition. Avoiding the triggers could prevent oral herpes outbreak. To prevent the virus from entering your body, you should not kiss or come in physical contact with people suffering from oral herpes. You should not share towels, toothbrushes, dental floss, foods and utensils with people with active herpetic sores.
Oral herpes treatment
Pain relief medications help to reduce the pain. To reduce the pain and discomfort of the sores, you can gently apply an ice pack on the sore, several times a day. You should not touch or irritate the lesion. Oral antiviral medicines are recommended for preventing frequent oral herpes outbreaks.