Virtually everyone has experienced burning their tongue before, be it out of carelessness or impatience when dealing with hot foods and beverages. As such, consuming something way hotter than you expect usually leads to a minor yet painful tongue burn. These types of burns generally do not require medical treatment, but since they still hurt, it is natural to want to soothe the pain until your tongue recovers.
An overview of the different degrees of tongue burns
The delicate tissues inside the tongue that make your first bite so delectable are also what make your tongue extra sensitive to heightened temperatures because they are very easy to injure. As a refresher, there are different types of burns, namely first-, second-, and third-degree burns, which is how medical professionals quickly describe the severity of the damage to the issues caused by a burn. These categories also apply when classifying tongue burns.
- First-degree tongue burns
First-degree burns are the most common type of burn that happens when you eat something hot a little too quickly. Despite only affecting the top layer of tissue, it may still result in mild pain and swelling and cause the tongue to look hot red or pink.
- Second-degree tongue burns
These burns are more severe as they cause greater pain than first-degree burns since they go beyond the top layer of tongue tissue. Blisters may also form on the tongue on top of swelling and causing it to appear red or hot pink.
- Third-degree tongue burns
As the most severe type of burn that reaches the deepest layers of the tongue, third-degree burns may lead to excruciating pain or numbness and cause the affected areas to turn white or take on a very dark shade.
For injuries beyond first-degree burns, it is advised to seek a healthcare provider immediately as burns of that nature are too severe to treat without help and doing so may lead to unwanted complications. If you are unsure just how serious your tongue burn is, you can get an online medical consultation to verify. Thankfully, most cases of tongue burns are typically first-degree burns, which means home remedies will suffice, and you can treat them yourself.
Home remedies to heal first-degree tongue burns
Try these to help speed up the recovery of your burnt tongue and soothe the pain while it heals;
1. Apply a layer of milk, sugar, or honey over your tongue
Milk works great for beating the heat (and spicy foods). Still, you can also use other kitchen staples to ease the pain, like sugar and honey, the latter being especially helpful with its anti-inflammatory properties.
2. Suck on ice cubes and consume plenty of cold foods
Enjoying a cold treat or simply sucking on regular ice can help numb the pain, but make sure it isn’t too cold to avoid getting your tender tongue stuck. Alternatively, you could also have your fill of your favourite cold foods and beverages like ice cream, sorbet, and soft drinks for the first couple of days following a tongue burn. Just make sure to stick with food items that are non-irritating and gentle on the tongue to avoid exacerbating your symptoms.
3. Take over-the-counter pain medication
Consider taking medicines like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs when you experience a lot of swelling or pain that interferes with your daily activities.
4. Rinse your mouth with salt water
Rinsing salt water eases the pain and reduces the risk of your tongue getting an infection. However, just make sure to steer clear of alcohol-based mouth rinses, as they have the opposite effect of increasing pain and irritating wounds.
5. Observe good oral hygiene
Good oral hygiene doesn’t just apply to denture wearers. Regular brushing and flossing are even more important when you have a wound in your tongue as it keeps it clean and prevents infections from developing.
6. Temporarily avoid spicy, hot, and acidic foods and beverages
Lastly, take care to avoid irritating the damaged tissue of your burnt tongue by temporarily skipping your favourite hot, acidic, or spicy foods and beverages.
A burnt tongue not only feels painful but also temporarily diminishes your sense of taste. Thankfully, our tongues are incredibly resilient organs that usually heal quickly on their own, which means you can enjoy your favourite foods again sooner than later. However, if your tongue is not healing, it’s best to consult a virtual doctor in Singapore as soon as possible.
With the MYCLNQ app, reaching the medical professional best suited to address your concerns is easier than ever. Moreover, you can access many other essential medical services you need in just a few clicks, including private ambulance services, medicine e-commerce and delivery, and even supervised ART tests. For more information about our services, don’t hesitate to contact us today.