We’ve all put a forkful of food into our mouth or taken a sip of a fresh cup of coffee that is hotter than expected, then tried desperately to soften the blow by fanning our open mouth with our hands to cool it down.
While this often works, at times you may end up with an actual burn on your mouth, lips or tongue.
Some people feel a burning sensation on their tongue all the time for no apparent reason. This is a medical condition known as burning tongue syndrome and is different from a burnt tongue.
No matter what, a burnt tongue affects your taste buds and lessens your sense of taste. Depending on the degree of the burn, you also may have symptoms like pain, redness on the tongue’s surface, swelling and even blisters.
Even a mild burn on your tongue can cause a lot of discomfort, which you may mostly experience when you eat or drink something warm.
The burn will heal eventually, but you can speed up the process with some simple home remedies.
A severe burn can lead to an infection. If the burn is severe, consult a doctor immediately.
Here are the top 10 ways to heal a burnt tongue.
1. Breathe through Your Mouth
As soon as you have eaten something very hot, spit it out and stick your tongue out of your mouth and start breathing orally.
When you breathe through your mouth, cold air flows over the surface of your tongue and provides relief from the pain.
Keep breathing oodles of air with your tongue out until you get relief.
2. Have Something Cold
Another good first response to a burnt tongue is to get something cold on it as soon as possible. It will help bring down the temperature of your burning tongue.
It will also reduce inflammation and prevent tissue damage. Plus, it will keep your mouth hydrated to ensure harmful bacteria do not cause an infection.
- Suck on an ice cube or lick an ice pop.
- Eat your favorite ice cream or drink some cold juice.
- Take small sips of cold water.
Try to hold any of these items in your mouth for as long as possible before swallowing. Keep doing it until your symptoms subside.
3. Swish with Warm Water
Swishing warm water around in your mouth is another natural remedy for a burnt tongue.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery reports that in order to limit damage after a burn injury, burn progression can be prevented with the application of warm water. It also improves the microcirculatory perfusion, which translates into increased tissue survival.
It is best to use warm salt water, as salt helps prevent an infection from developing in the mouth and around the damaged tissue on the tongue.
- Mix ½ teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water.
- Swish the solution around in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out.
- Do this several times a day until your tongue heals.
Honey is another excellent home remedy to heal a burnt tongue.
Its antibacterial nature prevents bacteria from infecting damaged skin. Plus, being a natural anti-inflammatory agent, honey reduces swelling and pain.
A 2014 study published in the Annals of Burns and Fire Disasters highlights the anti-infectious and anti-inflammatory properties of honey, as well as its favorable effect on wound regeneration.
- Spread 1 teaspoon of Manuka honey over your tongue.
- Allow it to sit on your burnt tongue for as long as possible before swallowing.
- Repeat the process 2 or 3 times a day.
Note: Honey should not be given to children under 1 year of age, as it can harbor toxic spores causing infant botulism.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is another amazing remedy to heal the burn on your tongue.
It not only soothes the damaged cells on the tongue but also aids healing. Plus, it helps reduce pain and inflammation.
A 2007 study published in Burns analyzed several studies and concluded that aloe vera might be an effective intervention used in healing first- to second-degree burns.
- Extract fresh aloe vera gel from an aloe vera leaf and apply it all over the tongue to soothe the burn. Repeat several times a day.
- You can also freeze the aloe vera gel into ice cubes and suck on them regularly.
Yogurt is another burnt tongue remedy that can provide instant relief from the discomforts.
The soothing nature of yogurt takes away the heat from the burn. It also helps ease the pain of a sore and sensitive tongue.
- Take ½ cup of cold, plain yogurt.
- Eat a little and keep it in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing.
- Repeat until you have eaten all the yogurt.
- Have yogurt a few times a day.
Another simple home remedy that works effectively when it comes to relieving a burnt tongue is sugar.
Sugar works as a soothing agent to provide comfort from the burning sensation. It even improves the taste in your mouth.
- Place 1 teaspoon of sugar on your tongue.
- Hold it against the roof of your mouth and allow the sugar to melt.
- Repeat as needed.
Note: This remedy is not recommended for people who have high blood sugar.
Mint is another good remedy that you should try to ease a burnt tongue. This herb contains menthol that helps activate the cold-sensing nerves, numb the area and reduce inflammation.
It also has antibacterial properties that help prevent the risk of infection.
- Apply some mint toothpaste over the surface area of the burnt tongue. Keep your tongue out of your mouth for some time until the paste dries up. Then, wash it with cold water. Do it 2 or 3 times a day.
- Allow mint tea to cool down in the refrigerator and sip it slowly.
- You can even chew some mint gum from time to time.
9. Vegetable Glycerin
Vegetable glycerin can also provide comfort from a burnt tongue. It helps soothe the inflamed tissues and keeps the tongue well-moistened, which is essential for quick healing.
- Dab your tongue with a generous amount of vegetable glycerin. Allow it to sit for as long as you can bear the taste, then spit it out. Finally, rinse your mouth with cool water. Repeat several times a day.
- You can also use a glycerin-based mouthwash to rinse your mouth a few times a day.
10. Vitamin E
When it comes to healing a burnt tongue, vitamin E capsules are also effective.
The soothing nature of vitamin E oil provides instant comfort. It also speeds up the healing process by helping the tongue tissue to regenerate.
- Open a vitamin E capsule.
- Empty its content onto the surface of your tongue.
- Spread it gently using your fingers to cover the entire burnt area.
- Repeat a few times daily.
- Avoid warm or hot liquids, which could irritate the burn.
- Avoid eating acidic foods, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits.
- Avoid eating crunchy foods like potato chips or nuts.
- Avoid spicy foods, as the strong flavors could irritate your burnt tongue.
- Keep your tongue and mouth moisturized by drinking cool water.
- Suck on hard candy or chew gum to stimulate saliva production.
- Avoid alcohol and products with alcohol, as they may irritate the lining of your mouth.
- Take all necessary steps to maintain good oral hygiene.
- Before eating anything, always test the temperature of hot liquids and food.
- If you notice no significant improvement in your condition, consult your doctor immediately.