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Old remedy offers new help for mouth sore sufferers

It has helped heal skin for years, but did you know that the aloe vera plant may help with common mouth sores as well?

New reports show that people who suffer from outbreaks of canker sores, cold sores, herpes simplex viruses and lichen planus may gain relief from using aloe vera.

"There is good evidence to support using aloe vera for oral health problems," said Dr. Kenton Ross, a spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry. "I believe a number of patients will be interested in this inexpensive alternative."

The report-appearing in the January/February issue of General Dentistry-references a study conducted on a patient with lichen planus, a disease that affects the skin and oral mucus membranes. By drinking 2.0 ounces of aloe vera juice daily and applying topical aloe vera lip balm, the patient's oral lesions cleared up in four weeks.

According to the American Dental Association, mouth sores can stem from bacterial, viral or fungal infections. Loose orthodontic wires, dentures that don't fit or sharp edges from a broken tooth or filling may also be the culprit.

Mouth sores that last a week or longer may indicate a disease or disorder, so talk to your dentist about treatment if you have recurring breakouts.

If you use aloe vera, here are a few tips on handling the plant:

  • Aloe vera plants can be found at most plant stores and nurseries.
  • Keep the plant near a window.
  • To get gel out of the plant, use scissors to snip off an inch of the leaf and squeeze the gel out of leaf.

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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