It is hard to resist a warm meal or drink especially if you are hungry. But if you ignore that it is still too hot, it will result in a burnt tongue.
Your tongue and mouth will feel burnt immediately.
And then you’ll regret eating or drinking too soon.
This pattern is familiar to all of us because we have had mouth burns at least once in our life.
Though, we know better, there is always a chance to repeat this mistake.
So what should you do when your tongue burns?
Don’t worry! We have you covered.
This article discusses how you can soothe your tongue when it is burnt.
Reasons Behind a Burnt Tongue
One of the main reasons behind the burning sensation is eating and drinking without accurately depicting the temperature of the food or beverage.
If you tend to eat your food or sip your drink really hot then you are at a greater risk of getting burnt.
The tissues in the tongue are very sensitive to taste.
These delicate tissues allow you to taste several flavors.
However, that also means that they are sensitive enough to injure easily because of hot temperatures.
There can be damage to the first layer of skin on the tongue or a first-degree burn.
Just by s drinking your regular cup of tea really hot.
Inhaling hot vapors can also cause burns in the mouth region.
For liquids to cause burns, they need to be nearly as hot as the boiling temperature.
This is when you burn your tongue knowingly, however, there are other conditions that will give a burning, tingling and stinging sensation in your mouth without consuming hot food.
A burning mouth syndrome is a condition that makes your mouth burn and sting.
The symptoms can appear with or without a cause.
If it is without a cause then it is Primary BMS otherwise it is Secondary BMS.
Secondary Burning Mouth Syndrome cn result from other oral health problems such as:
- geographic tongue
- oral lichen planus
- oral thrush
- teeth grinding
- dry mouth
- unfit dentures
- mouth injury
Other health problems can also cause the condition. These include:
- vitamin deficiencies
- acid reflux
- hormonal imbalance
- endocrine disorders
- food allergies
- high blood pressure medication
These conditions can cause a burning sensation that may start at the beginning of the day or can come and go throughout the day.
This sensation hardly subsides on its own.
However, you can soothe burnt tongue that occurs because of consuming hot food.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of the burns depend on their severity.
Essentially any burn is categorized into three stages:
- First-degree burn
- Second-degree burn
- Third-degree burn
First-degree burn only affects the outer layer of skin.
Hence, your tongue will only feel pain and it can slightly swell and become red.
First-degree burns are not severe and you can relieve the pain quickly.
Second-degree burns go a little deeper.
They not only hurt the outermost layer but also the under layer.
Thus the injury on the tongue is worse than first-degree burns and as a result, you get blisters, redness and swollen tongue.
As the name suggests, the third-degree burn is the worst.
Not only does it affect the deeper layers of your tongue in fact it burns it badly.
Thus it turns white or black signaling that the skin is burnt.
Your tongue will feel numb or will be in pain.
This is because as your tongue swells and burns, the papillae on the tongue are likely to disappear.
The taste buds lie between the papillae that help in sensing taste.
When the tongue is smooth and not bumpy, you cannot feel the taste or feel a slightly reduced taste.
However, this is only temporary.
If your mouth and tongue burn because of burning mouth syndrome then you will feel burning on the tongue, palate and inside of cheeks.
This sensation may abruptly start or can start from the beginning of the day and worsen as time goes by.
Moreover, you feel a metallic or bitter taste in the mouth besides the numbing, stinging and tingling tongue.
Your mouth feels dry too even though your saliva production is not actually less.
These symptoms repeat daily unlike how you may burn your tongue only once by eating and drinking something hot.
Soothing a Burnt Tongue (Home Remedies)
Rinse Your Mouth with Cold Water
The first thing to do when you realize you ate or drank something really hot is to rinse your mouth or drink cold water.
Sipping cold water can reduce the irritation you feel in the initial moments.
It can cool down your tongue by reducing the hot temperature.
Moreover, it can get the saliva flowing and keep you hydrated as that will prevent the bacteria from causing more harm to your teeth and gums.
Rinsing with Saltwater
If the pain does not subside by drinking and rinsing with plain cool water, you can try cold saltwater.
Mix 1/8 tablespoon of salt in a glass of water.
Rinse your mouth with it and especially the area that hurts and later spit.
Saltwater works because salt is a natural antiseptic.
It can help in decreasing the pain as well as the swelling.
So they not only reduce the pain but being an antiseptic also decrease any chance of infection.
Only use cold water or salt water to rinse and not any alcohol mouthwash.
That can possibly irritate the mouth further and worsen your wound.
Resort to Sucking Ice
Eating a popsicle or sucking on ice chips can also provide relief.
These cold items can help to lower the temperature and decrease irritation.
Sprinkling Sugar or Honey
This may sound strange but applying honey or a few sugar grains onto your tongue helps.
Try this remedy next time your tongue burns to see if it relieves pain quickly.
Avoiding Hot Foods
If you just burnt your tongue avoid eating the warmer and spicy foods over it.
Rather switch to soft and cold foods for that time.
Eat yogurt, applesauce or soft fruits to calm down the stinging sensation.
Only drink and eat warm food with caution.
Other Measures for Healing
Over-The-Counter Pain Medicines
OTC medicines such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help in relieving pain.
They can soothe your pain for the time being.
Besides the pain medicine, you can apply a medically reviewed and recommended topical antibiotic to reduce the chances of an infection.
You apply it on the outside of your mouth rather than inside.
That fends off infection and also keeps your mouth feeling hydrated.
Another method to maintain hydration and soothe the pain is to apply petroleum jelly to the corners of your mouth.
Healing from the burn may take a day or two so while you apply the petroleum jelly on your lips and corners of your mouth, they will at least remain comfortable even if your tongue is not.
There is also a risk of infection on the burn and keeping your mouth hydrated can lower that.
Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene
While you heal, you should make sure that your oral health is on point and clean.
Second-degree and third-degree burns can form a blister or an open wound.
Therefore, if you do not take care of your oral hygiene in that time, this can worsen to form an infection.
Hence, keep your mouth clean by brushing twice and flossing once daily.
Moreover, give your mouth rest from the warm food and drinks.
You can cause another burn or worsen the existing one.
Rather stay with soft and cold foods that are easy to eat and soothing on your burn.
If the burn does not go away on its own, look for signs of infection.
These can be swelling, increase in pain, does not heal, redness increases, formation of pus, and fever.
Consult your dentist if these signs exist and the burning sensation does not subside in a few days.
Complications and Preventing a Burnt Tongue
Once you burn your tongue it can last for about two weeks.
If it is severe enough then it may even prolong up to 6 weeks.
Get medical help if it is not subsiding and the pain keeps increasing.
Once a sign of severity is the epiglottis inflaming and swelling.
This is the flap that covers the windpipe right at the tongue’s back.
Hence, you can feel it when it is swelling.
It can cause breathing difficulties, especially in children.
Moreover, your mouth can scar around the corners which can become severe leading to microstomia.
This is a condition whereby you cannot open your mouth widely.
In order to prevent these complications from occurring you should not try to eat very hot foods and drinks.
An easy way is to measure their temperature before eating and drinking.
Also, remember that when you heat in the microwave then there can be uneven heating.
Thus, mix your food if you can before testing it.
The best way is to wait.
You cannot eat extremely hot food anyway.
It can burn your tongue and also your palate.
The only thing you can do is to wait till the food has cooled down and, trust me it does not take that long.
Waiting for your food to cool down a little is much better than having a burnt tongue for two to six weeks where you miss out on feeling many flavors.
Hence, use these ways to soothe your tongue when it is burnt but make sure you don’t have to look for ways of soothing your tongue next time.