When you burn your tongue, all you want is to know when it'll feel better. Burning your tongue is a common nuisance when you don't notice how hot your food or drink is before taking a bite or sip. It might even cause the filiform papillae (the natural bumps on your tongue) to disappear temporarily. It's easy to forget about temperature before eating or drinking, but it's a common cause of a burnt tongue.
An oral burn calls for a swift response to ease the pain. Fortunately, there are several tongue burn remedies that can help next time a swig of steaming coffee or a bite of pizza that's too hot.
1. Sip and Soothe
Your first response to a tongue burn determines the speed of your recovery. As with any minor burn, cold water can quickly soothe irritation. Drink a glass to bring down the temperature of your tongue and to keep your mouth hydrated. Saliva flow is key to ensure bacteria don't further harm the area. It is best to stay away from other hot foods and drinks, which will only irritate the burn until it heals.
2. Cool It Down
After the "event" itself, consume soft, cold foods to numb the stinging sensation naturally the rest of the day. Reach for foods that are easy to eat, such as a fruit cup, yogurt or applesauce. These gentle foods can help calm the burning sensation. Be sure to drink a glass of water at the same time to wash away any of the food debris left behind that could still hurt your tongue.
3. Swish With Salt Water
Once your mouth has cooled off, try rinsing with a warm salt water mix. Add 1/8 teaspoon of salt to an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Swish it around in your mouth gently, and then spit it out. A salt water rinse acts as a natural antiseptic that can reduce swelling and pain, helping relieve your tongue burn symptoms.
4. Get the Honey
Honey is another burn cure that has been studied for its antimicrobial properties and its ability to stimulate faster healing. Honey has been used for thousands of years as a burn remedy all over the world, and as a bonus, it's delicious! Just make sure you brush after to prevent cavities caused by sugar.
5. Take a Chill Pill
When all of the above suggestions fail to provide you the relief you need, there's always a standard over-the-counter pain medication. Take the recommended dosage of acetaminophen for pain or ibuprofen to treat the inflammation. Use a toothbrush with extra soft bristles, which is gentler on your mouth's soft tissue.
If you're unsure of the cause of your burning tongue symptoms, or they just don't seem to go away, check with your dentist to rule out burning tongue syndrome, which is a chronic problem not caused by an actual burn.
A tongue burn eventually goes away, but in the meantime, it's comforting to know you can try some simple burnt tongue remedies that work. To prevent future burns or risk making your current ones worse, take small sips and bites to test the temperature of hot foods and drinks. You'll be back on track in no time.