What to Do When You Burn the Sweet Bejeezus Out of Your Fragile Tongue
We've got the answers to your burning questions.
Being cautious around ultra-hot food and drinks is probably the lesson that I will never learn. No matter how many times I remind myself that a soup coming off the stove or a latte leaving the hands of the barista iis going to be piping hot and a threat to my precious taste buds, I still go in for the kill way too early. RIP my tongue and any chance I had at enjoying my next 3 days of eating. Awesome!
If you’re like me and just can’t seem to practice a little bit of restraint (or just blow on it for goodness sake) when it comes to hot food, here are a few things that you can do once the deed has already been done. No one should have to suffer from the agonizing discomfort that is a sore, scratchy tongue. Plus, a scalded tongue is one that cannot detect even a hint of taste, so we want that baby to heal up as quick as humanly possible.
Soothe it Immediately
Like a burn that might occur anywhere else on your body, adding more heat to the situation is only going to make it worse and make for a longer healing time. Once you’ve taken that fateful, scorching slurp, go ahead and wash it down with a glass of cold water, or even suck on an ice cube for a minute. Not only will this begin to alleviate your wounded tongue, but this is, this a good way to keep yourself busy while your creamy tomato soup comes down to a temperature that won’t injure your insides. It’s okay—mistakes are the only way we learn.
Swish with Salt Water
A good rule of thumb for when things feel a little bit uncomfortable in your mouth is that a swish of lukewarm (AKA not so warm that it will irk the already-burned buds) salt water probably couldn’t hurt. Aside from providing delicious flavor to pretty much every home-cooked dish, salt is natural antiseptic that is a great remedy for swelling and pain, both of which are probably very likely symptoms that your frizzled taste buds are experiencing.
Eat a Spoonful of Honey
I know, I know. You’re probably only here because you’re looking for an excuse to throw back a silky-smooth spoonful of honey and claim that it’s in the name of medicine. In the same way that it can coat an irritated, sore throat, honey is a soothing substance that will feel (and taste) great against a burnt tongue. Let the honey sit on your tongue for a couple seconds before swallowing to maximize coverage, and you’ll be feeling better in no time, suga!
Focus on Breathing Through Your Mouth
While it’s true that nobody likes a mouth breather, your coworkers and classmates will understand your slight breathing pattern adjustments if it’s in the name of speeding up the healing process of an aching, stinging tongue. By getting the ol’ oxygen this way, you’ll avoid drying out your tongue with a rush of cool air, thus agitating it even further.
Try to Avoid Acidic, Spicy, and Super Crunchy Foods
Unfortunately, there’s no miracle food that is going to take your recovery time from 7 days to 7 minutes. That said, while you are waiting for your sense of taste to return to your tongue, it’s best to avoid heavily spiced, ultra-acidic foods that might further upset the burnt buds. Additionally, foods that are crackly and crispy can scratch the damaged cells on your tongue, so try to steer clear of those, too. Yogurt, milk, oatmeal (BLOW ON IT FIRST, OKAY?!), smoothies, mashed potatoes, and eggs are all safe options.
Unlike what you did when you dove head-first into that bubbling pot of soup, the best thing that can heal a burnt tongue is simply giving it time. Of course, prevention is much easier than the cure, so in an ideal world, you’d take this advice before consuming whatever the next thing is that’s likely to light your buds ablaze.