How to Deal With Mouth Burns

When I was in high school I went on a really fun group date where a bunch of friends and I set up a generator and television in the canyon to create an outdoor theater among the trees. The night was very fun, I liked the girl I was with a lot, and all was well . . . until we decided to break out the hot chocolate. As I took my first sip, the sizzling beverage was halfway up the straw and time seemed to freeze as it dawned on me that I had neglected to check the temperature of my drink. As much as I wanted to pull the straw out of my mouth and take a mulligan, there was no way that my muscles would react fast enough to save my poor palate from what was coming. And boy did it hurt! I did my best to tough it out that night, but I was in pain. The burn pretty much ruined my night, and then, to add insult to injury, it took what seems like two weeks for things to return to normal.   If you’ve ever burned your mouth, I know what it’s like.
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In our Orem dental office, we see a lot of dental emergencies. Just today I saw a patient who burned her mouth on some hot food and was feeling uncomfortable. Like me as a high school kid, she didn’t know how to care for her burn. Let me give you a few pointers to help you feel better if you’ve burned your mouth:

  1. Drink some milk. Milk coats the wound and can help you feel a little better
  2. Eat cold foods. Apply ice immediately and then eat some cold foods like yogurt, ice cream, and popsicles.
  3. Topical ointment. Orajel makes a great topical ointment that is good for canker sores, baby teething, etc. It’s also good for burns.
  4. Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Take these over-the-counter- medications together. They are a strong combination to help relieve pain.
  5. Good oral hygiene. Make sure to keep your teeth clean while you are healing. The worst thing that can happen is to let the wound get infected from having excessive bacteria in your mouth.
  6. Warm salt water. This is one of those old home remedies that works for a lot of things. It may not taste good, but rinsing with warm salt water can help keep the wound clean and provide some soothing relief.
  7. Vitamin E. Squeeze a vitamin E capsule over the burn. This helps regenerate healthy skin and tissue in the area.
  8. Avoid touching the burn. You know this but I also know how hard it is to resist touching it. The more you leave things alone, the faster things will heal. On the other hand, if you keep picking at the wound, it may take a very long time to heal.
  9. Avoid sharp, hot, spicy, and citrus foods. These foods can make things worse because they can mechanically or chemically irritate the wound. Take it easy with your diet until things return to normal.
  10. Learn from your bad experience. You only need to experience this once before you decide to be more careful.

If you try these suggestions and the situation does not seem to be improving, give our office a call. It never hurts to be cautious and check things out. In serious cases, prescription medications and ointments can be used to give you some relief when things are at their worst.

-Nicolas K. Young, DMD