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What to Do When You Burn Your Tongue, the Roof of Your Mouth, or Lips

When you burn your mouth the degree of damage can range in severity. Mouth burns are typically first-degree burns, and less commonly second-degree. Fortunately, the tissues in your mouth are some of the quickest to heal in your body and although it may be painful, healing should occur within a week. Your sense of taste may be temporarily affected, but only until it heals. 

The Tongue

Burning your tongue is common from a hot food or drink and a rapid response can help with the pain. Drinking a glass of cold water or cold milk can sooth the burned skin quickly, in addition to flushing bacteria away from the area. 

Afterward, eat something soft and cool to help numb the area like ice cream, a popsicle or yogurt. However, avoid putting a whole ice cube in your mouth, which can damage the skin further. 

Once your mouth has cooled off, you can rinse with a warm salt water mix. Your mouth is naturally filled with bacteria that can cause infection and salt is a natural antiseptic that can reduce swelling and pain and help to relieving burn symptoms. Simply mix 1/8 teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water, then swish gently and spit it out. 

If needed, you can take a common pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Then stay away from hot or spicy food or drinks until it heals. If you’re not sure of the cause of your burning tongue symptoms, or it doesn’t go away, call the dentist.

The Roof of Your Mouth

The skin on your palate is thin and sensitive. As with any burn, the degree of severity and healing time can vary, and a badly burned roof of the mouth can result in painful blisters. Follow the same steps as for a burned tongue, and in addition to a common pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, an oral numbing medicine can be used. 

However, if you can’t find relief, it’s best to call the dentist to ensure you don’t have an open sore that could become infected. If you haven’t consumed anything that could cause burning symptoms, it may be a symptom of a medical condition so please schedule an appointment as soon as possible so the dentist can prescribe the appropriate medication for you.

Your Lips

Lip burns can result from a variety of reasons including food or drinks that are too hot, chemicals, sunburns, or smoking. The skin of your lips is delicate and sensitive and a burn can be painful.

If you experience a burn, dip a clean cloth into cool water or milk and apply to the lip. However, never use ice or freezing cold water, which can cause damage. Then gently clean the area with a soft soap to prevent infection.

Keep the area clean, don’t pick at it, and don’t pop any blisters. Leave the skin intact and unbroken to guard against infection. Aloe vera gel may be applied to help healing, but avoid oil-based creams or ointments. If the burn does become infected see the doctor, who may prescribe an oral or a topical antibiotic.

If you would like more information about caring for your burned mouth, Dr. Heidi Finkelstein and her caring staff at My Plantation Dentist can help. To schedule your appointment, please contact us today at 954-584-1030.

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