As of 2015, Anbesol and Orajel are two over-the-counter antiseptics that provide pain relief for sore gums, according to Drugs.com and Orajel. Both products contain benzocaine, used in local anesthetics to soothe painful, irritated tissue. Patients apply the medication to the gums using a cotton swab or sterile cotton ball.
Over-the-counter antiseptics containing benzocaine temporarily relieve gum discomfort, but patients need to exercise caution when using such products, according to Mayo Clinic. There is a link between benzocaine and a rare, but sometimes deadly, disorder called methemoglobinemia, in which patients experience a decrease in the amount of oxygen their blood carries. Guidelines for benzocaine use include not exceeding the recommended dosage and consulting a health care professional before using the product on a child under age 2.