- Right after you burn your
tongue, drink cold water to cool it down.
- You should also avoid consuming irritants like alcohol or spicy foods while it heals.
- Drinking milk products coat your tongue, which may offer some additional relief.
Chugging that steaming cup of coffee or digging into pizza straight from the oven is a surefire way to give yourself a painful burnt tongue.
However, that tender, sensitive sensation will usually resolve within 10-14 days as new cells grow to replace the singed ones.
In the meantime as you wait for your tender tongue to heal, here's what you can do to help soothe the pain and sensitivity.
1. Cool your tongue down immediately
The first thing you should do after burning your tongue is try to cool it down. You can do this by drinking cold water or chewing ice chips.
The sooner you do this, the better. "The quicker you get it on there, the more you're reducing the amount of heat penetrating into the tissue," says Stephen J. Stefanac, DDS, MS, clinical professor of Oral Medicine and Periodontics at University of Michigan School of Dentistry.
2. Avoid consuming irritants
Consuming certain types of food and drinks can further irritate a burnt tongue. Stefanac says you should avoid things like
- Hot drinks
- Spicy foods
These can all cause discomfort to a burnt tongue. "Alcohol is both an irritant and can delay healing of the injured cells. Spicy foods don't affect healing but can make a sore tongue more painful," says Stefanac
Additionally, you want to avoid hot drinks so you don't burn your tongue again, which will further delay the healing process.
Does sugar help a burnt tongue? While you may have heard of this remedy, Stefanac says this is a myth, and there's no scientific evidence to suggest that sugar would help a burnt tongue.
3. Take a break from brushing your tongue
While dentists typically recommend that you brush your tongue twice daily, Stefanac says you should take a break while your tongue is healing from a burn to prevent irritation and further pain.
4. Consume milk products
Milk products can make a burnt tongue feel better because they coat the tongue and also have a cooling effect, says Stefanac. To reap the benefits, try eating yogurt or drinking milk.
5. Rinse with saltwater
Saltwater rinses can provide symptom relief and reduce bacteria in the mouth. Because of this, Stefanac says you can rinse with saltwater to soothe your tongue. Rinse after meals and at bedtime.
How to make a saltwater rinse
In a bowl or glass, mix together:
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of cool water
6. Use an over-the-counter topical anesthetic
If the pain is severe, you can try numbing it with oral topical anesthetic gels meant for oral sores and toothaches, says Stefanac. Popular brands with these products are Anbesol and Orajel. The active ingredient that aids in numbing is benzocaine.
7. Take over-the-counter pain meds
You can also reduce pain by taking medications internally. Stefanac says you can take whatever over-the-counter pain relief medications you normally take when you experience other types of pain, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
A burnt tongue is a common affliction that may take a few days to stop hurting, and up to 14 days to heal completely.
While you wait for your tongue to heal, you can use home remedies to feel more comfortable. If the pain doesn't seem to be improving after a week, be sure to contact your dentist or primary care provider.
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