Does Using Toothpaste On A Cold Sore Work?

A cold sore is a common infection that affects 90 percent population at least once in a lifetime.

Many people do get cold sores quite frequently. They are painful, irritating, and downright ugly.

Fortunately, you can find useful natural remedies as well as prescription/ OTC medicines for getting rid of cold sores or fever blisters.

Some of the common natural remedies for fever blisters are such as aloe vera gel, peppermint essential oil, vanilla extract, drinking echinacea tea, apple cider vinegar, or coconut oil.

Using “toothpaste for a cold sore” is another popular home remedy for managing this blister and crusts forming infection on the lips.

In this article, we are going to exclusively focus on how to use toothpaste for getting rid of cold sores.

Cold Sore: An Overview

Before we go into the details of how to use toothpaste for healing cold sores, it is worth knowing some basic facts about this infection.

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is the culprit responsible for cold sores.

It is a highly contagious infection until the sores become crusted.

If you experience a tingling or itching sensation around the lips, it is a sign of the impending occurrence of cold sores.

For some people, cold sores may occur recurrently for a long period.

The cluster of tiny blisters on the lips and around the mouth can cause pain, itching, and burning sensations.

The first outbreak of fever blisters can last up to 2 weeks, but subsequent recurrence of this infection may not last longer than a week.

Cold sores cannot be cured completely as the Herpes simplex virus causing this infection can stay dormant in your body for several years.

The blisters forming around the mouth can also make you feel embarrassed and unattractive.

Antiviral creams and oral medications are the usual treatments for healing this infection.

Home remedies like toothpaste, apple cider vinegar, or aloe vera gel may also help in relieving pain and swelling, and reduce the duration of the illness.

Does applying toothpaste on a cold sore help?

Good toothpaste contains chemicals that are effective for killing bacteria that cause tooth decay. These chemicals in the toothpaste are also expected to suppress Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) which is responsible for cold sores.

Some others say that the herpes simplex virus needs a moist environment to replicate. Applying toothpaste dehydrates the lips to prevent the spread of the herpes simplex virus.

A prominent ingredient in common toothpaste is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), used as a foaming agent in toothpaste, shampoos, and other soaps.

According to a study report published by the Wound Care Society, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) contained in toothpaste may help to suppress the activities of the HSV virus.

Many patients too have given positive affirmation on the effectiveness of toothpaste in getting rid of HSV-1 infection.

Toothpaste works best for cold sores if used when the first symptoms of this infection like tingling or itching sensation begin to happen on lips. If it is used at the initial stage, the infection may disappear at the premature stage itself.

Some patients might experience adverse results after using toothpaste. A few have claimed that using toothpaste on cold sores resulted in an increased outbreak of blisters on lips.

If you find that toothpaste is aggravating the condition, then you might switch over to a natural or herbal toothpaste free of chemicals.

What do the studies say about using Toothpaste for cold sores?

There are no scientific studies available on the effectiveness of toothpaste for healing cold sores.

Only some of the anecdotal evidence shared by patients support the possibility of fever blisters’ removal with toothpaste. However, you will find numerous articles published on the internet by individual bloggers claiming that toothpaste prevents and heals cold sores.

On the other hand, some of the doctors and researchers feel that SLS in toothpaste may aggravate cold sore symptoms.

What do the users say? 

Many of the online portals that publish natural remedy tips suggest that sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) in toothpaste can suppress HSV that cause fever blisters.

Interestingly, there are some write-ups of some bloggers that say using old toothbrushes and toothpaste makes the cold sore conditions worse.

Some others claim that only white toothpaste is effective in getting rid of cold sores.

There are only a few supports for using toothpaste for the treatment of fever blisters. The majority of health bloggers discourage the use of toothpaste for treating HSV-1 infection around the mouth.

Toothpaste On A Cold Sore

Toothpaste on Cold Sore: How to Use

Using toothpaste on a cold sore can be done just like other creams you use for this infection.

Apply a thin layer of white non-gel toothpaste on the infected area where you feel itching. It is most effective if used before the blisters and crusts are formed.

Apply the toothpaste 5 times a day and before going to sleep. Stop applying the toothpaste if irritation or pain increases after using it.

It is easy to remove the toothpaste from the lips by rinsing it off in lukewarm water. You can also wipe off the toothpaste by using a washcloth soaked in warm water.

Using Toothpaste And Salt On Cold Sore

Rubbing salt on wounds and blister is a traditional remedy for inhibiting viral or bacterial infections on the skin. Applying salt on the wound may cause severe pain and irritation for a while.

The antiseptic properties in salt may help in reducing the infection caused by the HSV virus. Wiping your lips with saltwater solution may help in cold sore reduction.

Applying salt and toothpaste on a cold sore is another way to deal with this infection.

Make a mixture of salt and toothpaste and apply this mixture to the cold sores affected area. Repeat the treatment 4 times a day.

The combined effect of both salt and toothpaste is expected to dispel the virus and make the sores heal faster.

Tips For Preventing and Healing Cold Sores

If you have a recurring cold sore infection, it is wise to take precautionary measures to prevent it.

There is no doubt that prevention is better than cure; you can already sense the onset of cold sores with the tingling or itching on the lips before the blister appears.  Applying a thin layer of white non-gel toothpaste may help in suppressing the impending fever blister. It should work for most people; at least you can give it a try.

Here are a few more tips for managing cold sores worth noting:

  • HSV1 virus thrives when a person is under stress and fatigue, so keep yourself healthy and free of stress
  • Sunlight can trigger cold sores, cover your lips with sun-block creams every day if you have to be out in the sun
  • Avoid anything that can make your stomach upset for a troubled stomach increase the chances of getting fever blisters
  • Lack of sleep may cause cold sores, so make sure you sleep at least 7 hours a day
  • Docosanol (Abreva) is an OTC treatment that may shorten a cold sore’s duration, do it at the early stage of the infection.
  • Applying hydrogen peroxide or alcohol may help to dry out the sores fast; in case of any irritation stop using them.
  • Use natural remedies or OTC products that contain menthol, tea tree oil, and antibacterial agents
  • Use topical or oral numbing cream to get relief from the pain and irritation
  • Using a cold pack, ice, or having cold drinks may soothe the inflamed area.

The Bottom Line

Applying white toothpaste to a cold sore may work for some people.

Toothpaste treatment is most effective only when it is used at the beginning stages of the infection. If it is used at the initial stage, this treatment could prevent the cold sores from turning into blisters.

No guarantee putting toothpaste on cold sores always works.

Even other natural remedies like hydrogen peroxides, tea tree oil, or peppermint oil may not be adequate for dealing with cold sores.

Taking personal care to avoid what triggers your cold sores may help you stay one step ahead.