What Is A Tongue Burn?
A tongue burn is a common condition. It happens when eating or drinking something hot. You feel a burning sensation for few seconds. Tongue burns usually heal on its own. In some cases, they leave a small uneven bump, which heals within three to five days on its own. However, if your burn is serious immediately consult the doctor.
Alternatively, there is one more condition in which you feel your tongue or your mouth is burning even without an actual burn. This condition is called Burning mouth syndrome or burning tongue syndrome.
It is a recurrent burning inside the mouth, tongue, teeth and on the lips. It may also affect your gums, inside of the cheeks, and palate. The sensation can be mild to severe. It may appear all of a sudden or gradually with time. Till now, no particular cause has been identified for this condition.
What Are Causes Of A Tongue Burn?
Tongue burn is caused by drinking or eating hot food or liquids. It may burn your entire mouth, lips, or tongue. If you frequently drink hot drinks without checking the temperature, you are at a higher risk of tongue burn.
It is not a medical condition. It just happens when we don’t notice the temperature of food. It’s common, everybody suffers from it in some part of their life.
Contrary to it, burning tongue syndrome develops the burning sensation in your mouth without any valid reason. It’s not a disease, it’s a condition that causes discomfort. Till now, studies suggest there is a specific reason behind it.
However, they say the Postmenopausal women are at an increased risk for this syndrome. They also say it might be related to low levels of estrogen as it decreases the sensitivity of the buds.
The burning tongue syndrome is categorized into two categories. They are:
1)Primary Burning Mouth Syndrome
It occurs without an actual cause. It’s not a disease or disorder. Studies suggest it might occur due to damage to the nerves that are responsible for taste.
2)Secondary Burning Mouth Syndrome
Secondary BMS condition occurs due to other medical conditions. The common causes of the secondary burning mouth syndrome are as follows:
- Hormonal changes occurring due to thyroid, endocrine disorders, menopause or diabetes.
- Allergy to some medication or dental cream.
- Dry mouth that develops with other medical conditions like Sjögren’s syndrome. Additionally, sometimes certain medications and radiation therapy also result in dry mouth.
- Development of an oral yeast infection inside the mouth. This condition is known as Thrush.
- Development of oral lichen planus. It is a chronic inflammation of the mouth that occurs when the immune system attacks the mucous membrane cells inside the mouth.
- Development of a geographic tongue. It is a condition in which the surface of the tongue lacks the small bumps called papillae. Instead, the tongue has red raised patches which keep appearing and disappearing.
- Due to certain medication especially, the ones that are meant to control blood pressure.
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Anxiety, stress, and depression
- Damage to the nerves of the mouth
- Stomach acid that comes inside the mouth due to gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Usage of hard mouthwash
What Are Symptoms Of A Tongue Burn?
A Tongue Burn looks and feels different with the severity of the burn. The tongue burn has following symptoms
- If the outermost layer of the tongue is burnt, you will face mild pain. It may become red and little swollen.
- If the outermost layer and the underlayer of the tongue are burnt, it may form blisters. The blister will be red and swollen. More off, you will find difficulty to chew your food. Never eat spicy food in this condition as it may cause extreme burning.
- If you burn the deep tissues of the tongue, your tongue will become black or white. You will feel the severe pain that would slowly diminish with time.
- The red and swollen bumps on the tongue called papillae may disappear. Your tongue may appear smooth.
- You will feel a lesser sense of taste as the taste buds are injured. But it appears with deep burns only.
The Burning Tongue Syndrome comes with little more symptoms apart from burning sensation. These signs are given below:
- Your tongue will feel normal in the morning but will worsen during the day.
- You will feel recurrent burning sensation. It may occur anytime during eating or when not eating.
- The taste of your mouth would be bitter and tasteless all the time.
- You will feel dryness inside your mouth despite saliva secretion.
- Uneasiness while eating food.
- Pain throughout the day.
Complications Associated With A Tongue Burn
A mild level of tongue burn may not cause any major issue, rather will heal on its own within few days. Nevertheless, a severe tongue burn that has affected the tissue may result in higher risk or condition.
You should go for a medical help if you have burnt your tongue from deep inside. A severe tongue burn is at a risk of infections. So, it should be treated as soon as possible. The burn destroys your taste buds.
It makes your tongue senseless and tasteless. However, this is a short-term complication. You will restore the taste buds after around two weeks.
A burning tongue syndrome comes with the same complications as the tongue burn. However, in this, the pain is severe which may not allow you to eat. Eating low amounts of food might make you weak, fatigues, and stressed out.
Diagnosing A Tongue Burn
A physical examination can easily diagnose a tongue burn. The redness, swelling, and blisters are all signs of a tongue burn. The doctor can analyze the severity of tongue burn by simply seeing it. There is no test is required for a simple tongue burn.
However, burning tongue syndrome is diagnosed by relating other medical conditions and symptoms. You will be asked for your diet, oral care habits, and your medical history. All the information regarding your health will be gathered as BMS is caused by a variety of conditions.
Additionally, the doctor may ask you to undergo a few tests to evaluate a complete diagnosis. Burning mouth syndrome is difficult to diagnose. The most difficult part is finding the cause as it t can be due to a single cause or due to multiple reasons. The tests that might be undergone are as follows:
- Blood tests to figure out the blood deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and endocrine disorders.
- Oral test to figure out the oral hygiene and health. This checks any mouth conditions like lichen planus, thrush, bacterial infection, etc.
- An Allergy test to figure out any food or medicine allergy.
- A saliva test to check out the saliva production rate.
- Gastric reflux tests to check for GERD which is often the cause of BMS.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Tongue Burn
Tongue burn can be cured at home easily. The effective home remedies for tongue burn are as follows:
The first step after tongue burn guides the speed of recovery. Just after the tongue burn, you should immediately drink cold water.
This will quickly minimize the irritation and sensation too. It brings out the temperature of your tongue and keeps your mouth hydrated. Don’t consume any hot food or drink until your tongue heels.
2.Consume Soft Foods
After the event, keep consuming soft and cold food items. They are preferred because they numb the stinging sensation naturally. They aid in speedy recovery too. Go for a food that does not involve much of chewing like yogurt, fruit cup, fruit juices, mouse etc. Prevent food that is hard and involves much of chewing as they may scar your tongue more. Keep sipping water to wash away any of the food debris left behind.
3.Rinse With Salt Water
Once you start feeling normal and the burning sensation goes off, rinse your mouth thoroughly with salt water. Prepare a salty drink by adding 1/8 teaspoon of salt to 1 glass of water. Sip the water and swish it around your mouth for around half a minute. Next, just spit it out. It will relieve your tongue as salt is a natural antiseptic that decreases swelling and pain.
Sugar is a pain-reliever, it has the ability to relieve mild to moderate pain. Sprinkle little amount of sugar on your tongue to numb the pain. Don’t chew it off, let it dissolve and does it work. Alternatively, honey is also a good cure for burns. It has antibacterial and healing properties. Many health institutes suggest honey and sugar the best ingredient to cure mild pain.
5.Suck An Ice cube
To relieve the pain, suck an ice cube or an ice pop. It will surely soothe your tongue and counteract the heat of the tongue. Don’t just chew the ice cube, instead of suck them slowly for optimum relief
6.Apply Aloe Vera
Take some fresh aloe vera gel and apply it to the burnt area of your tongue. Don’t use the cream one or the store bought one.
Pluck aloe vera leaf and scoop out the gel from it. Aloe vera is a natural remedy for pain and healing. Alternatively, you can freeze the aloe vera gel and make ice cubes. Just suck these aloe vera cubes for relief.
7.Chew A Menthol Chewing Gum
A Menthol Chewing a has menthol that activates the cold-sensitive receptors of the tongue which further make your tongue feel cool and relieved.
8.Put some Cough Drops
Cough drops have benzocaine, menthol or phenol in them. These agents help to numb the pain area and give a cooling effect too. They work as local anesthesia.
How To Prevent Tongue Burn
You don’t have to do much about it. It’s just you have to be little conscious before eating. You have to check the temperature of hot liquids or hot food before eating or drinking them. You should be extra cautious when consuming food heated in a microwave as the top layer gets heat up more than the bottom layers.
Theirs is no specific remedy to entirely prevent tongue burns. However, you may decrease the sensation by reducing stress, avoiding tobacco, and avoiding too spicy, acidic and carbonated food items.
How Long Does Burning Tongue Last?
A burning tongue won’t lasts for more than 7 days. In the initial 1-2 days, you will find difficult eating or chew your food. The condition heels on its own without any specific medical treatment. In fewer cases, when you burn your tongue deeply, a medical attention may be required. Nevertheless, even a severe tongue burn heels within two to three weeks.
On the other hand, burning tongue syndrome can take months or even years for complete recovery. It cannot be cured without knowing the exact cause. They require a medical help to know the cause and the treatment.
However, as per the medical researchers, approximately half the people with burning tongue syndrome improve within 3-5 years without any medical help.
Is Burning Tongue A Sign Of Cancer?
A burnt tongue alone can never cause cancer. Although, a burning sensation in the tongue accompanied with signs like a constant sore throat, constant swollen red patches, thickening of tongue etc. can be a sign of cancer. Be rest assured, if you burn your tongue, it is not at all related cancer of any kind.