Your external skin isn’t the only area of your body that can be burned. Bite into a piece of pizza that’s too hot, and you may experience “pizza burn” on your hard palate, or the roof of your mouth. Sip on coffee that’s piping hot or bite into a forkful of straight-from-the-oven food, and you could burn your tongue. Hot foods and drinks can do a number on your mouth’s delicate tissues.
The sensitive tissue inside your mouth is susceptible to burns more so than some other tissues in your body. That’s because it’s so delicate and thin. In order to fully appreciate the sensation of eating and drinking, this skin needs to be delicate. But because it’s so delicate, it can be damaged quite easily.
Minor burns or a first-degree burn on the roof of your mouth won’t require treatment from your doctor. In fact, treating most burns inside your mouth is relatively simple.
- Sip on something cool or frozen, such as ice, to help ease the pain.
- Some drinks, such as milk, can coat the inside of your mouth, and provide a layer of relief that water cannot.
- You may also want to take an over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to help ease the pain and inflammation.
While you’re healing, you may want to avoid crunchy foods, or foods that may have sharp edges or ends. These foods may aggravate the skin. Skip hot foods as well. Opt for cool, soft foods until the healing process is complete.
An infection is another possible consequence of mouth burns. Gargling with an antibacterial mouthwash can reduce the chances of infection. Meanwhile, an anesthetic mouthwash can ease your pain by gently numbing the tissue. A warm salt-water rinse can also help ease the burning and reduce swelling.
The affected skin should begin to peel away in two to four days. Your mouth should be fully healed in about a week or two.
If you have a more severe burn, such as a second- or third-degree burn, you may need to seek medical attention quickly for your treatment. Symptoms of these deeper types of burns include:
- severe pain
In addition to blisters, you may also notice pockets of pus if you begin developing an infection in your mouth.
A third-degree burn may affect some of the nerves in your mouth. The affected nerves may be damaged and unable to relay pain signals to your brain. In that case, you will have to rely on some of the other symptoms to help you determine the severity of the burn.
If the pain in your mouth becomes too painful to handle and home remedies aren’t providing any relief, you might have a severe burn. In that case, you should seek medical treatment. Whether that’s an emergency room treatment or an in-office visit depends on the severity of your burn.
Second-degree burns require medical treatment, but you may be able to ease your pain with some over-the-counter remedies. Third-degree burns will likely need emergency medical treatment to help ease the pain. If you have a severe burn, you will also likely require antibiotics to help fight off any possible bacterial infections in your mouth.
When in doubt, call your doctor’s office, your local urgent care center, or your hospital’s emergency room. Describe your symptoms, what treatments you have tried, and how well they worked. You and your doctor can decide on the best course of treatment.