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Aloe vera soothes mouth sores

As winter makes its last stand, keep in mind that the aloe vera plant, which has been used to heal sunburned skin in the summer, can also treat common oral health conditions, including cold sores and fever blisters outside of the mouth and canker sores in the mouth.

Common mouth sores have many causes, including illness (such as colds or flu), food allergies, stress, or bacterial or fungal infections. Inside the mouth, the culprits also may include a loose orthodontic wire, a denture that doesn't fit or a sharp edge from a broken tooth or filling.

Aloe vera accelerates healing and reduces pain associated with external cold sores. In addition to its anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera provides benefits to the skin by adding amino acids and B1, B2, B6 and C vitamins. To treat a cold sore, apply aloe vera lip balm or gel three times per day until a lesion has dried. Cold sores are highly contagious, so be sure to wash your hands after applying the aloe vera.

Aloe vera juice also can help internal ulcerations of the mouth, including canker sores (a common condition usually caused by stress) and lichen planus (a disease of unknown origin affecting the skin and mucus membranes). However, always discuss with your dentist proper treatment techniques for conditions inside your mouth or for serious outbreaks.

Mouth sores may be a symptom of a disease or disorder. Your dentist should examine any mouth sore that lasts a week or longer.

Last updated: December 2016