Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions we haven’t been able to answer, please contact Aspen Pharmacare

mouth ulcers

What is the active ingredient in Kenalog in Orabase®?

The active ingredient in Kenalog in Orabase® is triamcinolone acetonide – a type of corticosteroid that helps relieve pain and inflammation.

Where can I use Kenalog in Orabase®?

Kenalog in Orabase® is suitable for use inside the mouth, applied to mouth ulcers, sore gums, or oral abrasions which may be caused by rubbing from dentures or braces.

How do I know if I have a mouth ulcer or a cold sore?

Mouth ulcers usually occur on the inside (mucosa) of the cheek, lip and floor of the mouth, but can occasionally affect areas of the gums and the roof of the mouth. Unlike mouth ulcers, cold sores usually occur on the lips. While less common, cold sores may also occur inside the mouth or on other areas of skin. It is not possible to differentiate a cold sore inside the mouth from an aphthous or traumatic mouth ulcer using microbiological testing. If you are unsure whether you have a cold sore or a mouth ulcer, speak to your healthcare professional.

Why do I have a gritty feeling after applying Kenalog in Orabase®?

When applying Kenalog in Orabase®, try to avoid rubbing in and spreading the paste, which can cause a gritty feeling, or cause the paste to crumble. Instead, try to gently dab a small quantity of the paste onto the oral sore. After applying it correctly, a smooth, slippery film will develop. For best results, use only enough to coat the sore with a thin film.

What’s the difference between products like Kenalog, and other mouth ulcer gels like SM33, Bonjela and Difflam?

While each of these products can be used be used to treat mouth ulcers, they all work in different ways, with different active-ingredients:

  • SM33 Gel contains lignocaine, an anaesthetic ingredient that temporarily numbs the sensation of pain, as well as salicylic acid, which has an anti-inflammatory effect, and ethanol which acts as a antiseptic.
  • Bonjela Mouth Ulcer & Teething Gel contains choline salicylate, which is an anti-inflammatory pain relieving agent.
  • Difflam Mouth Gel contains Benzydamine hydrochloride (an anaesthetic ingredient) and cetylpyridinium chloride, which is an antibacterial agent).

Unlike SM-33 Gel, Bonjela Mouth Ulcer Gel and Difflam Mouth Gel, Kenalog in Orabase® contains a corticosteroid ingredient called triamcinolone acetonide, within a moist-wound healing hydrocolloid paste (known as Orabase®). Kenalog in Orabase® delivers a triple action that speeds up the healing process, reduces pain and inflammation and forms a protective film barrier over the mouth ulcer or sore. Kenalog is also effective in suppressing the recurrence of mouth ulcers.

There are other important differences with each of these products, so always speak to your pharmacist who will decide which product, if any, is suitable for treating your mouth ulcer symptoms.

Can I use an antiseptic mouth wash with Kenalog in Orabase®?

The use of chlorohexidine based (non-alcoholic) mouth washes may help to prevent mouth ulcers. Always speak to your healthcare professional before using Kenalog in Orabase® with other medicine or mouth wash products.

Does Kenalog in Orabase® have any side effects?

Like any other medication Kenalog may have some unwanted side effects. In case you are concerned or if you experience any side effects, consult your healthcare professional.

What is the minimum age for using Kenalog in Orabase®?

Kenalog in Orabase® does not have recommended age guidelines in Australia. For more information, please speak with your dentist, doctor, or pharmacist who will decide if Kenalog in Orabase is right for you.

Can I use Kenalog in Orabase® during pregnancy?

If you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant, do not use this product unless advised otherwise by your doctor.

Where can I buy Kenalog in Orabase®?

Kenalog in Orabase® is available in most leading pharmacies Australia-wide. To find your closest retailer visit our store finder page. Kenalog in Orabase® is a ‘Pharmacist Only Medicine’ and can be purchased from behind the dispensary counter in pharmacies, without needing a prescription. Ask to speak to your pharmacist if you would like to purchase Kenalog in Orabase®.

Cold sore vs ulcer

Not sure whether cold sores and mouth ulcers are the same thing? Both are common, painful mouth problems, but the two are quite different and it’s important not to confuse them as they need to be treated differently.

What is a cold sore?

Cold sores are extremely contagious blisters that appear when you have a herpes simplex virus (or HSV) infection.

When a cold sore blister is on its way, you may start to feel a tell-tale tingling or burning around your mouth.

A cluster of small, fluid filled blisters then usually appear, either on the outside of your lips or around your mouth – although they can also sometimes be found elsewhere on your body.

The blisters can grow bigger and become painful, they can also bust and leak contagious fluid before crusting over.

Cold sores are very contagious and are easily spread from person to person. They remain contagious until they have healed completely – so it’s important to remember to avoid any close contact with other people until your cold sore has disappeared.

Once you have a HSV infection cold sores can be triggered periodically by things such as being tired or sun exposure.

What is a mouth ulcer?

Mouth ulcers (also called canker sores) are not contagious. We don’t always know exactly what causes them, but unlike cold sores, we do know they are not caused by a virus and are not contagious.

Mouth ulcers typically form after you damage the lining of your mouth or can be triggered in some people by things such as stress, smoking or iron deficiency. Sometimes you may get a tingling or burning feeling in your mouth before an ulcer appears.

They generally appear as single, shallow, crater-like round sores inside your mouth, lips or on your tongue – that can be white or yellow in colour with a red outer border.

How long do mouth ulcers take to heal?

Mouth ulcers can be annoyingly common, irritating and painful – and may feel like they’re taking ages to clear up – but the good news is, most ulcers will clear up by themselves in 1-2 weeks.

To give you an idea of what’s going on as an ulcer heals, here’s a timeline for one caused by biting your cheek:

  • Day 1: Within seconds of biting yourself, your immune system kicks-in, blood vessels narrow, and clots form to stop any bleeding
  • Days 1-3: Over the next few days, the spot becomes inflamed – turns red, swells up and starts to hurt – and the typical whitish ulcer forms
  • Days 4-6: The ulcer reaches its final size, then starts to heal and get smaller, and the pain begins to fade away
  • Days 7-14: The ulcer has healed and usually disappears completely without leaving a scar.

The actual time it takes for an ulcer to heal will vary depending on things such as the ulcer’s size or what caused it. Most ulcers are only small (less than 5mm in diameter) and will usually heal faster than larger ulcers.

If your mouth ulcer takes longer than 3 weeks to heal, is becoming more painful or you keep getting ulcers – then it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or dentist and get things checked out.

While mouth ulcers will usually heal on their own, they can still be very painful and make life miserable – so here are a few tips that may help ease the pain and discomfort, help speed up healing and help reduce the chance of them returning:

When your ulcer makes eating and drinking a problem:

  • try eating soft foods that need less chewing;
  • stay away from hard or sharp food, such as crisps or crusty bread, that may cause more pain and damage;
  • use a straw to keep liquids away from your ulcer;
  • avoid hot, salty, acidic or spicy food and drinks that may make your ulcer worse.

When brushing your teeth:

  • use a soft-bristled toothbrush to help prevent any more discomfort or damage;
  • don’t use a toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulphate.

When you need help finding relief:

  • ask your pharmacist about using Kenalog in Orabase® . This triple action dental paste heals mouth ulcers rapidly, forms a protective barrier over the ulcer to help protect against rubbing and irritation and is effective in suppressing the recurrence of mouth ulcers;
  • try using an antiseptic mouthwash to help prevent infection of the ulcer that may slow the healing process;
  • do other simple things like rinsing your mouth with salt water, which can also help relieve pain and reduce the chance of your ulcer becoming infected.

Are ulcers in the mouth contagious?

You may not be able to pinpoint exactly what caused your mouth ulcer to suddenly appear – but it’s comforting to know that mouth ulcers are not contagious. However, mouth ulcers can sometimes be confused with cold sores which are very contagious.

Although some people are more prone to getting mouth ulcers and may get them regularly, it doesn’t mean they have ‘caught’ their ulcer from someone, and they cannot pass it on to someone else either.