How To Heal A Burnt Tongue
For a quick fix, try sucking on an ice cube or licking a popsicle. A mouth rinse with ice cold water or simply eating a spoonful of yogurt or honey may help too. To help the pain subside, sprinkle a pinch of sugar onto the burnt area and let it dissolve or apply a little aloe vera gel straight from the plant. Be sure to avoid any acidic or salty foods that can irritate a burn further.
What do you do when your tummy growls from hunger and you remember the chicken pot pie from the day before sitting smugly in the refrigerator? You pick it up, shove it into the microwave for a few seconds and have a go at it. As soon as you sink your teeth into it, ouch! your tongue singes from the unexpected heat. A burnt tongue is the dinner table accident we are all familiar with. Microwaved pizzas, pies, and quiche are big villains as the temperature inside a microwaved food varies considerably from the temperature outside.1 Once you burn your tongue, you know you are not going to enjoy a meal for at least 10 days to follow. Depending on the extent of the damage, a burnt tongue takes anywhere from a few days to two weeks to get back to normal.
Burning the tongue from hot coffee is so commonplace that a UK-based designer has come out with a mug, named Smart Mug, that can detect the temperature of the content in it and communicate with the drinker with lights on the right time to enjoy it.
Well, that’s a really cool idea. But till we get one of those mugs, it helps to know some quick ways to soothe a burnt tongue so it heals faster.
How To Soothe A Burnt Tongue
A reader asked this question to a team of medical experts at the Columbia University that goes by the name Alice.2 Alice says the remedy depends on the extent of the damage. While placing ice on the burnt tongue is a good idea, if the burns have resulted in charred, blackened tissue, ice will only complicate the matter. What you need here is immediate medical care.
Having said that, here are a few quick fixes for minor dinner table accidents involving your tongue and hot food:
1) Breathe Through The Mouth
Stick your burnt tongue out and breathe. Let the cool air do its job. You will find instant relief from burnt tongue by doing this.
2) Ice Cube, Popsicles, Or Cold Rinse
Use cold to counteract the heat. Suck on an ice cube or popsicle or go for a mouth rinse with ice cold water. While rinsing your mouth, pay attention to the damaged area. Rinse for 30 seconds and spit the water out. Repeat it three or four times a day.
3) Dairy Products Help, Too
If you have milk, condensed milk or yogurt in the refrigerator, apply some on the tongue.
4) Sugar-Coat Your Tongue
Sugar is a good remedy for burns. Coat your tongue with a thick layer of sugar which will help it heal faster.
5) Honey As An Alternative
Instead of sugar, you can smear some honey on the tongue and let it sit there for a while.
6) Vitamin E Oil Application
Open a vitamin E capsule and empty the content on the tongue. Vitamin E oil works well in soothing a burnt tongue.
7) Cooling With Aloe Vera
Aloe vera gel works well to soothe the burnt tongue if applied directly on the tongue. If you have time, you can freeze the gel in an ice cube and suck on the cube. Needless to say, it may not be the best tasting medicine for the injury.
8) Menthol Chewing Gum
Menthol has the ability to activate cold-sensitive receptors on the tongue. So chewing on menthol chewing gum or menthol candy can soothe your burnt tongue.
9) Cold Sore Medication
Applying any cold sore medication or rinsing the mouth with an anesthetic mouthwash available over the counter is another remedy. They numb the tongue until it heals.
10) Cough Syrup As Remedy
Cough drops with benzocaine, menthol or phenol can act as a local anesthetic and help relieve pain.
Does Pain Medication Help?
If the burn is not minor and the pain is severe, you may want to try some pain medication available over the counter for relief. If the burn is very bad where at least some tissues have been charred, go to a doctor immediately.
What Not To Do When The Tongue Is Burnt
- No burn creams or ointments. They are for topical use and not for ingestion.
- Avoid acidic foods which include citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, etc till the tongue heals.
- Salt can irritate a burn further. Avoid having salty foods like chips till the burn is soothed.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Kafas, Panagiotis, and Christos Stavrianos. “Thermal burn of palate caused by microwave heated cheese-pie: A case report.” Cases journal 1, no. 1 (2008): 1.|
|2.||↑||Relief for burnt and injured tongues?. Columbia University.|