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Last Updated on February 27, 2023
What Happens If You Swallow Orajel?
Orajel is a pain-relieving gel that can be used for all ages to deal with toothaches, sores, and other problems in the mouth. All you need to do is place a small dollop on the affected area and the pain will go away within seconds.
However, since Orajel is a product for people of all ages (and that includes children of over two years), you might wonder what happens if the child in your life swallows some of the Orajel, or you accidentally do.
This article is going to go through what happens if someone swallows Orajel, as well as some other potential side effects of improperly using the gel. We’ll aslo cover what Orajel actually is and how to properly use it.
What Happens If Orajel Is Swallowed?
Now, much like toothpaste and gum, if it goes in your mouth, you are probably going to swallow at least some of it. Toothpaste and gum are pretty safe to swallow, as long as you aren’t doing so deliberately, and Orajel is the same way.
It might give you an unpleasant taste in your mouth and could slightly numb your throat (though not in any way that will cause harm to you). If you wind up swallowing Orajel, it won’t really cause any issues for your health or the health of any children who take it.
However, there is one condition (though very rare) that you will need to be aware of. It is a rare blood problem called methemoglobinemia, which is something that can happen to you if your family tree is susceptible to it… and if you end up swallowing or applying too much of it.
What To Know About Methemoglobinemia
Methemoglobinemia is a rare but very serious and life-threatening blood problem that can occur after the application of Orajel or any other product that contains benzocaine. It often occurs when too much Orajel is applied, but can sometimes happen with just a normal dose if the person in question is susceptible to the condition.
Methemoglobinemia has several symptoms that are hard not to notice, because it is a blood disorder that happens whenever your cells are not getting enough oxygen delivered to them.
This can lead to cyanosis: a bluish color of the skin, especially the lips and the fingers, and your blood can even turn brown from lack of oxygen. Additionally, methemoglobinemia can lead to headaches, breathing problems, nausea, rapid heart rate, confusion, and loss of consciousness.
It can very quickly turn into a medical emergency if you don’t get it treated and get your blood oxygenated quickly. Treatments with blood transfusions, as well as a drug called methylene blue which oxygenates the blood, can help to heal you.
However, in order to prevent Methemoglobinemia from happening in the first place, you need to make sure that you aren’t applying too much Orajel on your skin or in your mouth to begin with.
Reducing The Risk Of Swallowing Orajel
If you want to avoid swallowing Orajel, then you need to focus on certain things that you can control about your use of Orajel. First, make sure to only use the correct amount which is a small dose. The bigger the dose is the bigger the chance that you accidentally swallow it.
Additionally, don’t eat food or drink anything for at least one hour after you apply the Orajel to your toothache.
Still, even if you do wind up swallowing some Orajel, know that nothing too bad will happen to you. You might get an unpleasant taste in your mouth and maybe a funny feeling in your throat, but it won’t kill or seriously harm you. Just make sure to monitor your health and you should be fine.
Don’t be too paranoid about swallowing Orajel, because you should be thinking about what it can do to prevent your toothache. Often, Orajel numbs the pain and then dials the pain back just enough for you to find your way to the dentist.
What Exactly Is Orajel?
Orajel is a toothache gel that you can get over the counter without a prescription, and it works just like toothpaste. You apply the gel directly to the toothache or the painful area in your mouth, and then it starts to work within seconds! The main ingredient in Orajel is Benzocaine, which is a topical local anesthetic. It is used to relieve pain and itching for a lot of ailments, both in the mouth and over the rest of the body.
Orajel is designed to be used in the mouth for things like toothaches, mouth sores, and other problems. It works by deadening the nerves in the area it is applied to, preventing those inflamed or otherwise irritated nerve endings from sending their pain signals to the brain.
It works at full strength within seconds. Once it starts to fade, it still works at a reduced strength for several hours after the initial application. Plus, you can also apply the gel several times throughout the day, so if you really can’t handle the pain, then you won’t have to.
How To Apply Orajel Correctly
While you might think that you need to apply as much Orajel as possible to overcome your toothache pain, instead you need to follow the instructions on the label. You need to use the smallest amount possible, which is the amount indicated on the label, as it is very powerful.
If a small amount of benzocaine can numb your tooth, then a much larger amount can cause you to numb your entire face. So you want to make sure that you are following the directions, especially whenever it comes to using Orajel with young children who have toothaches or mouth pain.
So make sure to take small dollops of Orajel and then gently apply it to the area of your mouth where you have the toothache, and don’t be tempted to use too much. You should get the instant effect of the Orajel every single time you use it, and that should be enough to get you to a dentist.
Should You Use Orajel For Babies?
There’s nothing more frustrating than having to deal with a baby who is teething. They are getting their baby teeth and also in a lot of pain, and while things to chew on and other devices can help with the pain, you might wonder if Orajel or other similar gels are able to prevent the endless crying that comes with teething children and relieve them of some pain.
Orajel shouldn’t be used for children under two years old. Not only is there a massive chance of your child swallowing most of it, but benzocaine can be dangerous, and the FDA strongly recommends against giving Orajel or any product containing benzocaine to any child under two years of age.
This is because young children are at extremely high risk for developing methemoglobinemia, and the risk of a young child developing the potentially fatal illness just isn’t worth it for the relief it gives. And since Orajel rubs off easily and your child will likely swallow it without thinking about it, the risk can only grow.
There are plenty of baby-safe teething toys, cold objects and washcloths, and pacifiers that you can use to keep your child from suffering the effects of a toothache. If these tools aren’t working, then you can use liquid painkillers in the proper doctor-approved dosages, but don’t use Orajel!
How Does The Dentist Fix Your Toothache?
If you don’t want to keep using Orajel or have to worry about not swallowing it all the time, then you need to know how to stop your toothaches from occurring. Once you go to the dentist, they will see what is causing your toothache.
Common symptoms are tooth decay, cavities, root canals, and even a lost tooth. A toothache can be caused by many different things, and your dentist is going to look at your mouth and see how to fix the toothache.
If there’s tooth decay, then your dentist will work to remove it and replace the decayed area with a filling on your tooth. And if a broken or damaged filling is what happens to be causing your problem, then they will remove the filling, remove any decay that might have built around it, and then place a new filling in its place to give you a new strong tooth.
If your toothache is caused because the pulp inside the tooth is infected, then a root canal treatment will remove the infected pulp. For most toothaches, simple procedures like this are what need to be done. But if the toothache is so severe it can’t be treated, then the tooth might need to be removed.
So make sure that you know how to use Orajel safely. Take the time to meet the dentist and get your toothache fixed before you accidentally swallow some Orajel by accident!