- Find out more about the hidden dangers at your dentist office
- If you’ve ever had a cold sore, you NEED to read this
- Two supplements to help you claim victory over viruses.
Dear Living Well Daily,
A while back, my friend underwent a dental extraction. A few days after, she asked me to pick up a prescription for her and bring it over. I quickly agreed, but before I hung up, she threw out a brief disclaimer, “Don’t judge me for this prescription or what I look like. I caught something nasty at the dentist.”
I didn’t think much of her warning. I just assumed she was surprised by the strength of the pain pills she was prescribed and perhaps had an infection from her procedure.
But when I got the script, I must admit, while there was no judgement, I was a bit confused. You see, the drugs she had me pick up were for a viral infection that had little to do with oral surgery (or at least that’s what I thought at the time).
But when I saw her, I was truly shocked. My friend had painful lesions all over her lips and lower face. She was having a hard time speaking and was visibly uncomfortable. And when she told me what happened, my mind was blown…
My friend was suffering from a major oral herpes outbreak.
And it seemed that her dental work was the catalyst for the torturous state she was in, even though her dentist had taken precautions to protect her.
Like many folks, she had a history of cold sores (three in her lifetime, to be exact). Nothing major, every handful of years a tiny bump would pop up on her upper lip and disappear a few days later. Because of this, her dentist put her on antiviral medications before her procedure to try to prevent an outbreak.
You see, cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), a common viral infection. In fact, According to the National Institutes of Health, HSV-1 is so run-of-the-mill that about 90 percent of American adults are exposed to the virus by the age of 50. Before an outbreak, itching, burning and tingling sensations are common symptoms. During the outbreak, painful fluid-filled blisters occur and then eventually scab or crust over before they heal.
And while there are treatments to control herpes, there is no cure. The virus can lie dormant in the nerve tissue of the face. When the virus is reactivated, it can cause outbreaks.
Despite it’s prevalence, many people never experience symptoms or outbreaks. However, this means they could infect others unwittingly, or experience an unexpected outbreak following a trauma like dental work.
Unfortunately for my friend, the precautionary course of antivirals she took before the procedure did her no good — she still suffered a serious outbreak. You see, studies show that having intense dental work such as an extraction can trigger severe herpes outbreaks. It’s unclear whether the extraction itself or anesthesia, or both are to blame for the outbreak. While anyone with the virus could be susceptible to a post dental flare-up, it’s more likely to happen to folks who experience cold sores.
Therefore, she didn’t actually catch herpes from the dentist, but rather suffered a nightmarish outbreak triggered by her procedure.
After another course of antivirals, her blisters healed. She hasn’t had an outbreak since. The experience was so traumatic, though, she carries antivirals everywhere she goes, just in case she feels an outbreak coming on.
But it seems she isn’t alone. Just surf the net a bit and you’ll find other cases of these types of trauma-induced outbreaks — everything from dental work to lip injections, and tattooed make-up can ignite a surprise onset.
However, there are ways to protect yourself and a few antiviral supplements that may help you lower your risks of outbreak.
Victory Over the Virus
First things first here. The best way to avoid a herpes outbreak is to not catch the virus. However, as we mentioned earlier, this is not an easy thing to do. However, there are a few things you can do to lessen the risk:
- Avoid intimate contact with anyone who’s showing signs of infection (i.e., cold sores, fever blisters). While you can still catch the virus from someone who doesn’t have immediate symptoms, it’s more likely to happen during an outbreak
- Never share razors, towels, dishes or other items that may have come in contact with an open herpes sore
- If you’ve ever had a cold sore, be sure to report it to your dentist or doctor before any oral medical procedure. This way your practitioner can take the proper steps to try to avoid a trauma-induced outbreak. You can also request that your practitioner prescribe antiviral medications prior to your procedure steps if you’re concerned about a potential outbreak, even if you’ve never had symptoms.
Recently, a study in the Journal of Pineal Research shows that some natural antivirals are as strong as prescriptions. Acyclovir, a common antiviral prescribed for herpes (and the one my friend was taking), was compared to a natural compound that contained melatonin, phosphate, magnesium and fatty acids in the treatment of oral herpes.
At the completion of the study, researchers found that the natural treatment group experienced a 95 percent rate of complete regression of symptoms in seven days. The prescription group, however, saw an 85 percent rate of complete regression in seven days. This means that while both treatments worked, the natural compound was slightly more effective.
The exact doses for this compound are unavailable, or we would share them with you. However, it is noted that it contains 2.5 mg of melatonin. It would make sense that supplementing with melatonin may be one way to help you manage oral herpes, as it is a powerful antioxidant. Not to mention it’s an effective sleep aid!
Another effective natural antiviral is St. John’s wort because it contains hypericin. Hypericin is a chemical that can penetrate nerve cells and destroy the fatty coatings on the virus, killing it off. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, taking two 1.8 gram tablets a day long term can help curtail outbreaks. Click here to check it out.
Managing editor, Living Well Daily
 Mouth Infections