There’s nothing better than a piping hot mug of chocolate to calm the nerves in a cold winter’s day. Feeling too lazy to cook? You can always make a bowl of hot soup to warm you up inside. If you’re feeling fancy, you can melt cheese, so you can dip everything in that fondue. Still, there’s a danger lurking behind those hearty bowls, especially when consumed carelessly — just one wrong move and you risk burning yourself in the mouth.
What’s worse is that burning can take some time to heal, leaving people with a sore and numb patch on their roof of the mouth or their tongue for days. This is because your mouth has many delicate tissues that are prone to burning, compared to other tissues in the body. Moreover, these tissues are thin and delicate since it is used for tasting, eating, and drinking.
Still, there is a way to manage the burn and improve the healing process, according to Dr. Eunjung Jo, a dentist based in New York City. In an interview with the Daily Mail, she shares five tips to alleviate the pain caused by a mouth burn and make sure you don’t add more damage to it:
Keep to a soft diet – Dr. Jo recommends sticking to a soft diet while you’re recuperating from a burn. This ensures that no possible irritant, particularly those that are crunchy or have sharp edges, will make the sore patch worse.
Stay away from anything that’s too hot or too cold or spicy – It’s best to consume everything at room temperature, according to Dr. Jo. Additionally, when the mouth is subjected to heat, cold, or spice, this triggers an increase in activity in the mouth, which takes away time that could be spent on healing the burned area instead.
Avoid acidic drinks – Coffee, wine, and soda are not allowed for at least two days after the burn, explains Dr. Jo. This is because all three drinks may irritate the skin while it is healing due to the high acidity of the drinks.
Keep your mouth clean – As with all injuries, bacteria in mouth burns can lead to infection, if it is not properly cleaned. Brush your teeth after cleaning drink plenty of water to wash out any built-up food or bacteria in the mouth. Gargling with a saline solution also helps.
Medicinal treatments – If it is a particularly bad burn, Dr. Jo recommends using a mouthwash to address it. Aloe vera can be a natural way to treat burns.
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While normal mouth burns are considered to be first-degree burns because they only affect the outmost layer of the skin, more severe burns require medical attention. Some symptoms, aside from severe pain, include the formation of blisters, swelling, and redness.
Also, people who may have conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, acid reflux, and trauma should observe if they experience symptoms aside from those normally experienced. These could include a dry mouth, unusual tastes (such as metallic or bitter), numbness in the mouth, and a scalding pain in the mouth. This can be due to a condition called burning mouth syndrome (BMS), which is a different case.
Overall, mouth burns are a normal occurrence in a person’s daily activities. While being careful of drinking or consuming hot liquids is the best way to prevent it, most burns can be treated without immediate medical assistance and will heal in a couple of days.