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Why Does Anbesol Hurt?

This article is a part of our Q&A series in which we give detailed answers to our readers' questions. Have a question? Don't hesitate and send it to us to get a detailed answer!

Anbesol is a topical anesthetic used to provide temporary relief from pain associated with mouth sores, toothaches, teething, and dentures. While it’s primarily intended to alleviate pain, some individuals experience a stinging or hurting sensation when applying Anbesol. This comprehensive guide will explore why this happens and how to deal with it.

What is Anbesol?

Anbesol is an over-the-counter medication that contains an active ingredient called benzocaine. Benzocaine is a local anesthetic, which means it works by numbing the area where it is applied, providing temporary relief from pain or discomfort in the mouth or gums.

How Does Anbesol Work?

Anbesol works by blocking the nerve signals in the area where it is applied. This reduces the sensation of pain. It is commonly used for conditions like mouth ulcers, gum irritation, and teething in infants.

Why Does Anbesol Sometimes Hurt When Applied?

  • Irritation of the Affected Area: If the area where Anbesol is applied is already inflamed or irritated, the initial application may cause a stinging or burning sensation. This is generally brief and subsides as the anesthetic effect sets in.
  • Allergic Reaction: In rare cases, individuals may be allergic to benzocaine or other ingredients in Anbesol. This can cause pain, itching, redness, or even swelling in the area where the product is applied.
  • Applying Too Much: Using an excessive amount of Anbesol may cause more intense sensations, including pain. It’s important to follow the instructions and apply only the recommended amount.
  • Sensitive Oral Tissues: Some people naturally have more sensitive oral tissues. The chemicals in Anbesol can sometimes cause a reaction in these sensitive tissues, leading to discomfort or pain.
  • Interaction with Other Products: If you are using other oral products, especially those containing alcohol or strong antiseptics, Anbesol may interact with them, causing a burning sensation.

What to Do if Anbesol Hurts

  • Follow Instructions: Ensure that you are using Anbesol according to the product’s instructions. This includes not applying more than the recommended amount.
  • Rinse Before Application: Rinse your mouth with water to clean the area where you are applying Anbesol. Avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol right before applying it.
  • Test for Allergies: If you suspect that you may be allergic to benzocaine or other ingredients in Anbesol, consider doing a patch test by applying a small amount on the inside of your forearm and monitoring for any reaction.
  • Consult a Healthcare Professional: If the pain is severe, or if you experience swelling, redness, or other signs of an allergic reaction, stop using the product and consult a healthcare professional. They may recommend an alternative medication.

Bottom Line

While Anbesol is generally effective in providing temporary pain relief for oral issues, it can sometimes cause a stinging or hurting sensation upon application. This could be due to irritation, an allergic reaction, sensitive oral tissues, or interaction with other products. It’s important to use Anbesol according to the instructions and consult a healthcare professional if you experience severe discomfort or signs of an allergic reaction.

This Q&A series article is complete and was published on July 21, 2023, and last updated on July 21, 2023.

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