You know the signs, the tingling and burning sensation before the outbreak…
Ugh, it happened again.
With WebMD revealed 90% of all people get at least one cold sore in their life, you are certainly not alone.
So can you apply toothpaste and salt on cold sores overnight as home remedy?
Let’s find out.
Causes and Symptoms of Cold Sores You Should Know
Cold sores are groups of small blisters found on the lip and around the mouth. They are also known as fever blister and the skin tends to be red, swollen and sore on the skin around the blisters. A clear fluid is extruded once the blisters break open and will scab over after a few days. It usually takes a maximum of two weeks for them to heal.
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is the primary agent that results in cold sores and come in two different types. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are likely to cause red sores around the genitals known as ‘genital herpes’ while those formed around the mouth are referred to as ‘herpes labialis’.
A small opening on the skin or inside the mouth gives a breakthrough of the herpes simplex virus into the body. The condition is likely to spread to other parts of the body through contact i.e. touching a cold sore, kissing an infected person or touching their saliva, or sharing sharp objects such as razors. It is the most common way children get the infection from their parents.
Early symptoms of herpes simplex virus are characterized by a fever, sore throat, pain on your lips and around your mouth. Other individuals may experience swollen glands in their necks or other parts of the body. Before the cold sores appear, small children would often drool and are usually very painful for some people. Some people don’t get cold sores, and yet they have the virus while showing no symptoms of infection.
Dr. Josh Axe elaborates more on causes and symptoms of cold sores in video below.
Putting Toothpaste On Cold Sores Overnight – Does It Work?
Home remedies such as toothpaste have been found to be moderately effective in relieving the pain and itchiness of cold sores. Since cold sores are caused by the herpes virus, it is quite unfortunate that toothpaste won’t kill the virus. Its primary purpose is to dry out your blisters making them less noticeable and provide a temporary relief.
Like salt, toothpaste also has irritants such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) that can aggravate your fever blisters. This helps you narrow down to a toothpaste that does not have any ingredients that will cause an irritation to your sores.
There are several ways in which you can apply toothpaste more effectively to your cold sores. This involves applying ice on the blisters before accompanying it with the paste to help minimize the swelling. Instead of gels, it is recommended to opt for a white paste and you will be required to clean the area properly. It helps to facilitate rapid healing.
A toothpaste only helps with the appearance of the cold sore but does not address the root cause of the problem. You will feel some slight pain during first application but it fades away over time. Unlike salt, the sting from toothpaste is quite bearable and you can go throughout the process of treatment with less discomfort.
Directions of Using Toothpaste on Fever Blister
- Apply white toothpaste at the first sign of a cold sore. The symptoms are usually characterized by itching, burning sensation or tingling. The Herpes simplex virus usually replicates in a moist environment. That is the primary reason why using a toothpaste to dry out the sores can help prevent further spread of the infection.
- Allow it to rest for a few hours and then take off the toothpaste by soaking a washcloth in warm water.
- The toothpaste should be applied every hour or a couple of hours throughout the day. Another idea is to apply the paste on the blister and then leave it overnight while sleeping. Wash it off the next morning with clean water.
- It is a method that has worked for some individuals and you can prevent the formation of fever blisters by using the toothpaste at an early stage. In video below, it is recommended by Dr Doug Willen to switch into a natural toothpaste that is SLS-free.
Over The Counter Cold Sore Treatment Options
As shown above, there are a variety of OTC solutions to help get rid of cold sore, including:
- Topical cream like Abreva with active ingredient Docosanol that helps to shorten the healing time. It works by penetrating deep into the skin, blocks the cold sores virus and provides a barrier to protect healthy skin cells.
- Oral Medicine such as LippEase and Herp Rescue. These pills contain natural ingredients like Lysine, Vitamin C and Zinc that can help relieve cold sore symptoms.
Virulite uses a patented 1072nm light technology to stimulate your own body immune response naturally without side effects, and halves cold sore healing time for faster results.
The efficacy of this electronic cold sore light treatment device is medically proven with clinical results, supported by actual user reviews and experience.
Applying Salt on Cold Sore – Would It Work Better?
The occurrence of a cold sore often leads to a sensation of severe itching and pain. There are several treatments and methods that are believed to relieve any pains or itchiness that comes with the formation of fever blister, with salt is another natural home remedy to the condition.
Salt is a natural anti-bacterial substance that helps in easing the invasion effects of herpes virus in the body. Not only does salt work on cold sores but is also effective for other skin problems. Before you think of visiting the drugstore for oral medications, you can try using salt as the initial remedy as it is a simple procedure to combat the blisters.
Sodium Chloride is the primary ingredient in salt. The food-grade salt is slightly different as it often fortified with iodine and other ingredients that make it easy to pour while preventing caking. Salt has always been used as a nutrient, flavoring agent and a preservative.
Medically, salt has been useful in reducing the swelling for a variety of ailments and inhibiting the growth of germs, including skin problems such as salt. According to the earliest known publication on pharmacology, it has been revealed that salt has more than 40 medicinal uses.
It is okay to use salt directly to treat cold sore blisters. However, you should bear in mind that application of salt on cold sore is likely to cause a bad sting and the painful feeling can be gross on opened blisters.
How Does Salt Work as Fever Blister Cure?
According to research, it has been proven that salt on an open wound is effective in inhibiting a viral or bacterial infection on the skin. We need to look at how we can go about the unimaginable sense of sting it can cause. To avoid this situation, it is advisable to mix salt and milk before you can apply it on the blisters.
It ensures that you still get the effective natural effect of salt on a wounded skin without suffering the consequences of the sting. The protein in milk will have buffered the antiseptic substance in salt making it easy to go through the process of treatment.
Another idea is using a salt water solution. Since the large particles will have dissolved in the solution, it minimizes the actual impact you could get from raw salt.
The reason why raw salt is not recommended for open wounds or blisters is that the sting can draw your attention to pick or poke at it unconsciously. The crystals can also cause scratching or abrade delicate cold sores. In turn, it causes a short-term irritation which leads to a potentially delaying healing in the long term.
Which Type of Salt To Be Used For Cold Sores?
There are two types of salt: Table salt and the salt in foods.
According to a research carried out by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), it is estimated that 75% of salt that people consume originates from the processed foods and not the table salt. Canned soups, boxed dinners, lunch meats, and bacon, crackers, and pretzels, or salted peanuts are a few example of salty processed foods.
There are also several varieties of table salts such as sea salt, seasoning salt and much more. It is advisable that individuals with cold sores should avoid using table salt and focus primarily on the fresh and minimally processed foods.
The Combination of Toothpaste and Salt on Cold Sores
The mixture of salt and toothpaste can be effective in relieving itchiness and pain that comes from open fever blisters. However, both remedies have irritants that can cause discomfort during application. There is a simple procedure to follow if you want to get the healing effects of salt and toothpaste combination without experiencing any pain.
Watch the video below for step by step guide on how to apply mixture of toothpaste and salt to get rid of cold sores.
First, make sure that the affected area is completely clean and dry. Form a thick paste by mixing a small amount of salt into the toothpaste.
Before you go to bed, apply a thin layer directly on the cold sore. Allow it to rest the whole night before you clean it off with warm water in the morning. The antiseptic properties of salt can be useful in speeding up the healing process while the toothpaste works in reducing the appearance of the cold sores. It is a perfect combination that seems to work well for most individuals.
Keep it in mind that the herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores is very contagious. It is important to take the necessary precautions especially if you are living with someone else. Anyone is at risk if they are exposed to the virus.
The most efficient way of dealing with this situation is getting a tube that will be specifically used for cold sores only. The other tube can be placed in a different place for brushing teeth. Using the same toothpaste often leads to recurrent cold sore flare-ups and can spread to your partner or roommate.
Additional Cold Sore Cure Recommendations From Experts
The MedlinePlus is a patient information service that is maintained jointly by the National Institutes of Health and National Library of Medicine. It strongly recommends that individuals who have cold sores should avoid anything spicy, salty, and hot or foods containing citrus. Addition of anything spicy on your sore mouth can worsen the situation reducing your chances of healing.
It is advisable for such patients to take a soft, bland diet with plenty of non-acidic beverages until the point where symptoms resolve. It is a good idea to cut down on salt so that it not only heals cold sores but also support general health.
It is possible to protect cold sores from all food irritants including salt by applying a mouth ointment or lip balm prior to meals. Topical products that are comprised of numbing agents such as over-the-counter acetaminophen can be considered.
There are lifestyle changes that can help reduce the incidence and severity of cold sores. Some few examples include eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, exercise and getting enough rest. You will be boosting your immune system to fight against the virus that causes cold sores. It is important that you seek medical assistance if you experience frequent or severe cold sore outbreaks.