Many people experience the discomfort of canker sores in their mouths at some point in their lives. These small ulcers can make eating and drinking painful, and can even cause difficulty speaking. Fortunately, there are over-the-counter treatments available to help ease the pain. Two popular options are Anbesol and Orajel. But which one works better? Let’s explore the details.
What are Anbesol and Orajel?
Anbesol and Orajel are both numbing gels that are applied topically to the area affected by a canker sore. These gels contain active ingredients that block pain signals and reduce inflammation, providing relief from the discomfort associated with canker sores.
Both Anbesol and Orajel are available over-the-counter and can be easily purchased at most drugstores. They are also commonly used to relieve pain caused by other oral irritations, such as cold sores and toothaches.
It is important to note that while these gels can provide temporary relief, they do not cure canker sores or other oral irritations. If you experience frequent or severe canker sores, it is recommended that you consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment options.
What causes canker sores?
The exact cause of canker sores is not known, but they are thought to be triggered by a variety of factors, including stress, hormonal changes, certain foods, and injury to the mouth.
Recent studies have also suggested that canker sores may be linked to a weakened immune system. People with autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or celiac disease, are more likely to develop canker sores. Additionally, some medications that suppress the immune system, such as chemotherapy drugs, can also increase the risk of developing canker sores.
Symptoms of canker sores
Some common symptoms of canker sores include a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth, small painful ulcers on the inside of the cheek, lips or tongue and difficulty eating or speaking.
In addition to these symptoms, canker sores can also cause swollen lymph nodes, fever, and general discomfort. It is important to note that canker sores are not contagious and usually heal on their own within a week or two. However, if you experience frequent or severe canker sores, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional.
How do Anbesol and Orajel work to ease canker sore pain?
Both Anbesol and Orajel work by numbing the area around the canker sore, which can help ease the pain associated with the sore. The active ingredients in these gels block pain signals and reduce inflammation in the affected area.
In addition to numbing the area around the canker sore, Anbesol and Orajel also contain ingredients that can help promote healing. Anbesol contains benzocaine, which can help reduce the size of the sore and speed up the healing process. Orajel contains aloe vera, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe the affected area.
It is important to note that while Anbesol and Orajel can provide temporary relief from canker sore pain, they are not a cure for the underlying condition. If you experience frequent or severe canker sores, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Active ingredients in Anbesol and Orajel
Anbesol contains benzocaine as its active ingredient, while Orajel contains either benzocaine or benzyl alcohol, depending on the specific product. Benzocaine is a local anesthetic that works by blocking pain signals in the nerves, while benzyl alcohol has a mild numbing effect on the affected area.
It is important to note that both Anbesol and Orajel should only be used as directed and in moderation. Overuse of benzocaine can lead to serious side effects, such as methemoglobinemia, a condition where the blood is unable to carry oxygen properly. Additionally, benzyl alcohol can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in some individuals.
It is also worth mentioning that while these products can provide temporary relief for toothaches and other oral pain, they do not address the underlying cause of the pain. It is important to see a dentist or healthcare provider if you are experiencing persistent oral pain or discomfort.
Are Anbesol and Orajel safe for children?
Anbesol and Orajel are both generally considered safe for use in children over the age of two, but it is important to follow the dosing instructions carefully and consult with a doctor before using the product on a child.
It is also important to note that Anbesol and Orajel should not be used for teething pain in infants under the age of two, as it can lead to serious side effects such as methemoglobinemia.
Additionally, parents should be aware that prolonged use of these products can lead to a decrease in effectiveness and may mask underlying dental issues that require medical attention. It is always best to consult with a pediatrician or dentist before using any oral pain relief products on children.
Can Anbesol and Orajel be used for other types of mouth sores?
Anbesol and Orajel can be used to relieve pain associated with other types of mouth sores, such as cold sores, but they are specifically formulated to provide relief from the pain of canker sores.
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus and typically appear on or around the lips. Anbesol and Orajel can help to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with cold sores, but they will not cure the underlying viral infection.
In addition to canker sores and cold sores, Anbesol and Orajel can also be used to relieve pain from other types of mouth sores, such as those caused by dentures or braces. However, it is important to follow the instructions on the packaging and consult with a healthcare professional if the pain persists or worsens.
Possible side effects of using Anbesol or Orajel
Some possible side effects of using Anbesol or Orajel can include allergic reactions, skin irritation, and numbness in the mouth or throat. It is important to follow the dosing instructions carefully, and to stop using the product if any unwanted side effects occur.
In addition to the possible side effects mentioned above, prolonged use of Anbesol or Orajel can lead to a condition called methemoglobinemia, which reduces the amount of oxygen that can be carried in the blood. This can be especially dangerous for infants and young children. It is important to consult a doctor before using these products on children under the age of 2, and to avoid using them for more than 7 days in a row.
How to use Anbesol and Orajel for best results
To use Anbesol or Orajel, simply apply a small amount of the gel to the affected area using a clean fingertip or cotton swab. Be sure to follow the dosing instructions carefully, and avoid swallowing the gel. It is also important to avoid eating or drinking anything for at least 30 minutes after using the product to allow it to fully absorb.
For optimal results, it is recommended to use Anbesol or Orajel at the first sign of pain or discomfort. This can help to prevent the pain from becoming more severe and difficult to manage. Additionally, it is important to use the product as directed and not exceed the recommended dosage, as this can lead to unwanted side effects.
If you experience any adverse reactions or the pain persists after using Anbesol or Orajel, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. They can help to determine the underlying cause of the pain and recommend appropriate treatment options.
Alternatives to Anbesol and Orajel for treating canker sores
There are a variety of other treatments available for canker sores, including mouthwash, oral analgesics, and prescription medications. It is important to consult with a doctor or dentist to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.
In addition to these treatments, some people find relief from canker sores by using natural remedies such as aloe vera gel, chamomile tea, or baking soda paste. These remedies can help reduce inflammation and promote healing. However, it is important to note that natural remedies may not be as effective as medical treatments and should be used with caution.
When to see a doctor for canker sores
If your canker sores persist for more than two weeks, or if you experience severe pain or difficulty eating or drinking, it is important to consult with a doctor or dentist to rule out any underlying conditions.
Additionally, if you notice any unusual changes in the appearance of your canker sores, such as a change in color or size, it is important to seek medical attention. This could be a sign of a more serious condition, such as oral cancer.
It is also important to note that if you have frequent or recurring canker sores, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as a weakened immune system or nutritional deficiencies. In these cases, a doctor or dentist can help identify the root cause and provide appropriate treatment.
Customer reviews of Anbesol and Orajel
Customer reviews of Anbesol and Orajel vary, with some users reporting significant pain relief and others reporting no change in their symptoms. It is important to keep in mind that everyone’s experience with canker sores is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another.
It is also worth noting that both Anbesol and Orajel contain benzocaine, which can cause rare but serious side effects such as methemoglobinemia. It is important to follow the instructions on the packaging and not exceed the recommended dosage. If you experience any unusual symptoms after using these products, such as shortness of breath or a rapid heartbeat, seek medical attention immediately.
Cost comparison of Anbesol and Orajel
The cost of Anbesol and Orajel can vary depending on the specific product and retailer. Some users have reported that Anbesol is slightly less expensive than Orajel, but this can vary depending on where you purchase the product.
It is important to note that while cost is a factor to consider when choosing between Anbesol and Orajel, it is not the only factor. The effectiveness and ingredients of each product should also be taken into account. Anbesol contains benzocaine as its active ingredient, while Orajel contains either benzocaine or lidocaine depending on the specific product. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before using either product to ensure it is safe and effective for your specific needs.
Conclusion: Which is better, Anbesol or Orajel?
Ultimately, the decision of whether to use Anbesol or Orajel will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Both products have been shown to provide relief from the pain associated with canker sores, and it may be worth trying both to see which works best for you. However, it is important to follow the dosing instructions carefully and to consult with a doctor or dentist if your symptoms persist or worsen over time.