HAVE YOU EVER SAT down to a plate of lasagna from your favorite Italian place and immediately taken a huge bite without waiting for it to cool down? Or taken a swig of hot chocolate too fast? Maybe it wasn’t lasagna or hot chocolate for you, but we’ve all burned our tongues or the roof of our mouths on foods or drinks we love, and we’ll all probably do it again. We want to make sure you know what to do for your mouth when that happens.
Step 1: Get rid of it!
What you do immediately after burning your mouth will determine how quickly you recover, so instead of persevering with your hot food or drink, you need to get it out. Nobody wants to spit out their food at the table, but you can discreetly use "the napkin trick" to just put your napkin up to your mouth as if you are wiping it and get the superhot food out. If you burnt your hand on the oven, you wouldn't say "well I'd better finish what I started!" You'd jerk your hand away. So don't let politeness make your injury worse.
Step 2: Drink Cold Water
Next, just like you should run cold water over that burned hand, cold water will stop the cooking of your tongue as well. Take a big sip of cold water and let it sit in your mouth for a minute before you swallow. Do that a couple times. You can even suck gently on an ice cube. Again, we all worry about making a scene, but likely nobody will notice you are applying first aid, but you!
Step 3: Keep Things Cool
After administering your first aid, you want to be gentle with this area over the next few days while it heals. Soft, cold foods will help to numb the sting of the burn, so open up the fridge and grab a yogurt, fruit cup, or applesauce. It might even be a good reason to spring for a smoothie or some frozen yogurt, and make sure to keep drinking cool water as well.
Step 4: Keep it Clean
Your mouth is just full of bacteria, which makes it hard to keep a mouth wound clean. And that makes it take longer to heal. So do the best you can with homecare. As much as you might not want to brush the teeth right next to that burn, just do so gently (avoiding the burned gums or tongue) and make sure you floss. The cleaner you keep your mouth the faster it can heal!
Step 5: Tasty Relief
Well, this may be the one time you hear your dentist advocating for a dab of honey because those sticky sugars can be hard on teeth, but believe it or not, it can speed up wound healing in your mouth or on your skin! Turns out grandma's remedy had some truth to it! Sugar is a quick source of energy for the cells that are trying to heal, and studies have shown that honey is even more effective at promoting healing than sugar. Just make sure to drink some water afterward to rinse away any sweet residue.
Step 5: Pain Medication
For particularly bad mouth burns, these measures might not be sufficient to relieve the pain. At that point, it becomes a job for over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Luckily, oral tissues heal more quickly than any other part of the body, so even a particularly painful burn to the tongue should be gone within a few days.
Burning Tongue Syndrome And Your Dentist
Some people feel like they have a burned tongue even when there is no actual burn, a chronic condition known as burning tongue syndrome. If you’re feeling the burn for no apparent reason, schedule a dental appointment. Otherwise, follow these steps to get your burned tongue feeling good as new as soon as possible!
We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment!