We’ve all had our mouths scalded by a spoonful of hot soup, a steaming bowl of queso dip, or an over-microwaved slice of pizza. The initial pain sends us into a scramble for relief, and the afterburn often leaves the roofs of our mouths scarred and raw. There are different degrees of tongue burns, but even the least severe will leave the tongue red or swollen, and the bumps on the tongue (the papillae) may disappear. It’s even possible to temporarily lose the sense of taste.
But a burnt tongue doesn’t have to be a prolonged affair of discomfort and frustration as long as you follow the proper recourse immediately after the burn.
Here’s how to quickly get over your tongue burn.
Cool It Down
After the initial burn you want to quickly cool down the tongue by rinsing it with cold water or sucking on ice chips. Other ways to mitigate the burn include grabbing for a spoonful of Greek yogurt and letting it sit in the mouth for 10 seconds before swallowing, or chewing a stick of spearmint gum.
Clean It Up
A burnt tongue is more vulnerable to infection and disease. Remove any dirt or particles that may remain on the burn by dabbing it with a wet, clean cloth or by gargling salt water. Salt is a natural anti-bacterial agent that helps prevent infection and blisters from forming on the tongue.
Ease the Pain
Honey’s soothing texture and natural anti-inflammatory properties make it an ideal remedy for irritation and swelling of the tongue. Evidence published in the journal Annals of Burns and Fire Disasters shows that honey treats burns by producing a natural hydrogen peroxide. But your standard supermarket honey might not necessarily do the trick. Manuka honey, a special honey made in New Zealand from bees that pollinate the Manuka bush, is especially effective because it contains methylglyoxal, a compound that accelerates healing in burn wounds.