Numbing Agents and Antiseptics

Some over-the-counter canker sore medicines consist of local anesthetics, such as benzocaine (Anbesol®, Orajel®, Zilactin-B®), which relieve pain by numbing the affected area.

These can be problematic at times since the numbing agent does not stay put. Any other part of your mouth that gets touched by the medication will also get numb, such as your tongue, for example.

If you’re like me, as soon as you apply the medicine you’ll have a tendency to check the sore with your tongue to see if the medicine is working…bingo!…now the tip of your tongue will get numb too. It’s not harmful, just annoying.

Other over-the-counter medications for canker sores include antiseptics containing carbamide peroxide (Kanka®, Gly-Oxide Liquid®, Orajel Perioseptic®).

Much like typical mouthwashes, these work by inhibiting the growth and reproduction of disease-causing microorganisms, thereby allowing the mouth sore to heal without potential interference from mouth bacteria.

Unfortunately, like most canker sore treatments, these products only treat the symptoms, not the cause, and therefore do nothing to prevent recurrences of mouth ulcers.

For the best results, consider making some minor lifestyle changes to cure your canker sores. After all, would you rather make just one mouth sore feel better or learn how to get rid of them for good?