Didn't wait long enough for that slice of pizza to cool off? The skin on your palate can be thin and hypersensitive, so food that feels warm to the touch can be scorching to the oral tissue. In most cases, it's a short-lived sensation, telling you to wait a little longer before indulging. But a severely burned roof of mouth can last for hours, even days, as it works to heal itself.
Whether you have blisters or a naturally tender palate, many at-home remedies allow you to deal with the pain. If you can't find relief, however, it's best to call your dentist for a second look and to ensure you don't have an open sore that's prone to infection. Until then, here are a few simple ways to cool off a hot mouth when you've bitten into your food too quickly.
1. Opt for NSAID Pain Relievers
One of the simplest ways to find relief is to take a couple of ibuprofen or acetaminophen NSAID pain relievers – according to package directions, of course. When your skin (even in your mouth) burns at any level but third-degree, according to Mayo Clinic, nerve endings can go into overdrive because they haven't been destroyed. This causes the inflammation that victims of mild burns know all too well. Over-the-counter pain relievers help reduce this swelling to deliver some relief, but make sure you always read the instructions and never take more than is advised. The burn may be irritating now, but it usually goes away in a few days.
2. Swish with Antiseptics
A badly burned roof of mouth can result in painful blisters, as well. Your mouth is naturally filled with bacteria that can cause infection and more subsequent pain, so using an antiseptic mouthwash is very important. According to Healthline, an antiseptic mouthwash can reduce infection and ease pain to keep the affected area germ-free for faster healing.
3. Eat Softly
Thinking about chips and salsa? Think about this, first: Crunchy foods can become sharp when breaking them down in your mouth, irritating your burn further. For a couple of days after a bad burn, it's best to stick with soft, cold foods. Not only will this limit irritation, but cold foods like ice pops, yogurt and applesauce can help you find relief from the abrasive sensation on your tongue or hard palate. Much like applying a cold compress to a minor burn on your arm, cold foods "cool down" the nerves, so be sure to raid your fridge for items that will aid in your comfort.
4. Apply Benzocaine
When a burned mouth gives you persistent grief, benzocaine can be an effective and safe treatment, too. Gargling with a product such as Colgate® Orabase® 20% Benzocaine delivers numbing medicine straight to the source without aggravating the burn itself. Orabase also creates a protective shield that not only desensitizes, but also covers a bad burn so it's less likely to become irritated by regular food and drink. Reapply according to package directions and you should be pain-free until your mouth fully heals.
A burned roof of mouth is no fun, especially if you were hoping to enjoy a nice hot slice of pepperoni pizza. But just like the skin all over your body, food that is too hot can cause soreness and ulceration that require many other foods to take a back seat. If you have a burned mouth, remember that it might take time and a little TLC to heal your palate so that you're ready to eat (sufficiently cooled) food without pain.