Known as bio-adhesive films, products such as Orajel® and Zilactin® are applied directly to mouth sores. These medicines treat the sores by providing a protective coating – somewhat like a mini-bandage – to alleviate the pain, help it heal and to prevent further injury.
These products, and others like them, also typically contain benzocaine, which numbs the affected area for several hours so you can eat and talk without pain.
The downside is that any thing else in your mouth that gets touched by the gel will also get numb. So if your canker sore is on your cheek and you put the medicine on it and then accidentally touch it with your tongue, your tongue will also get numb in that spot.
Treating the Symptoms, Not the Cause
As with all such treatments, they only treat existing sores and do nothing to prevent their recurrence.
Interestingly, Orabase® is owned by Colgate, a company that makes toothpastes containing SLS, a primary cause of canker sores. They sell the cause and the cure. This would be like cigarette manufacturers getting into the business of selling smoking cessation kits.
Click here to learn how to treat canker sores so they never come back.