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MarkIsCooking

Burnt tongue. Any quick remedies?

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This has happened to me numerous times over the years and my first reaction is to grab a spoonful of sugar followed up by an ice cube.

I am curious about the sugar solution. Never heard of this before. What is the theory behind it? Thanks.


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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I am betting by now, based on my own personal experience, that the problem has pretty much resolved itself. The tongue seems to be remarkably capable of healing itself unless we are talking about a 3rd degree burn in which case I would expect medical intervention has already been sought.

Edited to add:

Still looking for those bonus points so here's a discussion of weak vs strong verbs on a BBC site.


Edited by Anna N (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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First let me say I am an otolaryngologist so I have some experience in this area. There is no way actually to accelerate healing of a thermal burn (or chemical for that matter) either on the skin or on the tongue (which is basically covered with a skin sort of tissue). The best you can hope for is to minimize factors which slow down healing. Those would be further trauma,infection and nutritional inadequacy. This is why burns are bandaged sterilely, and debrided of dead tissue as it delineates itself from viable tissue. It is obvious that the tongue cannot be be bandaged and probably the kind of burns we are talking about here would never need debridement. I think we could also assume that anyone in this forum would have exceptional nutrition, perhaps excessive even. Therefore the only assist we can give our burned tongue is not to further traumatize it. Measures such as putting sugar on the tongue, or pineapple juice (fresh pineapple juice would definitely be contraindicated due to the proteolytic enzymes) may provide momentary relief due to counterirritation-basically distracting the local attention of the nervous system from the pain stimuli. Ice does the same thing and is the best choice. Icing burns works very well. Just don't be so aggressive witht he ice that you induce frostbite. Other than that you can do very little but wait for healing. The tongue is so vascular it heals very rapidly and rarely gets infected. Topical anesthetics work to reduce pain but slow healing if used over and over. Not to be overlooked are oral anti-inflammatory agents such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetomeniphen. LIke ice, these drugs reduce the inflammatory responcs of the body to the thermal injury, and the inflammatory response is in large part responsible for the later pain from burns.

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That was definitely a more authoritative answer than I was expecting.

This is not my own burnt tongue but rather that of a loved one to whom I was hoping to offer some relief. I also feel responsible for the burn, as creator of the hot food. Sounds like Aleve and ice cream are the way to go tonight and it will probably be all better by tomorrow.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Heh. Well, now that both the remedy and grammar extra-points queries have been more than adequately covered, I shall move on to a war story ... told in an eliptical fashion: you know those warnings on the boxes of frozen pizzas, that say let the pizza sit for ten minutes after it's removed from the oven before eating? There's a reason why: straight out of the oven, the melted cheese has an effect on the tongue somewhat akin to napalm. The reader is left to speculate as to why a frozen pizza was being consumed at all, and why the consumers couldn't be bothered to wait those 10 minutes, or even read the instructions. Hint: it was a late hour of the night, and some alteration of consciousness was involved. :laugh: Needless to say, this was an immediate buzzkill. :biggrin:


Edited by mizducky (log)

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Freshly made pizza has this same hazard :wacko: , speaking from personal experience.

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Do you think chefs burn their tongue often, having to taste hot stuff all the time? But then that would impair their ability to taste.

One strategy I've learned when cooking is when tasting hot stuff to put into a bowl first (I use a Chinese rice bowl). The bowl will cool it down rapidly. Now I almost never burn my tongue when cooking, though I still do it when eating.

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Heh. Well, now that both the remedy and grammar extra-points queries have been more than adequately covered, I shall move on to a war story ... told in an eliptical fashion: you know those warnings on the boxes of frozen pizzas, that say let the pizza sit for ten minutes after it's removed from the oven before eating? There's a reason why: straight out of the oven, the melted cheese has an effect on the tongue somewhat akin to napalm.

What is it about frozen pizzas that make them so prone to burning the tongue?

I haven't eaten a frozen pizza in many years, but I still have vivid memories of multiple tongue burns caused by them.


Edited by TAPrice (log)

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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Try swishing warm salt water in the mouth to soothe the irritation. As one other person suggested, the OTC product, "Anbesol", might help, as might Chloroseptic Spray or Lozenges, which is advertised for sore throat pain. Doctors I've worked with have suggested some of all of these things for sore throat & ulcers in the mouth, so it should be helpful for a burned tongue. Good luck!

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Wow that was a most excellent reply, LRunkle! Some great expertise here on eGullet.

Whether it's tongue or skin, I reach for an ice cube as quickly as possible. Works pretty well if you don't delay more than a few seconds.


John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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A popsicle works wonders for a mouth burn... it's slower to eat than a bowl of icecream and somehow icier!

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Heh. Well, now that both the remedy and grammar extra-points queries have been more than adequately covered, I shall move on to a war story ... told in an elliptical fashion: you know those warnings on the boxes of frozen pizzas, that say let the pizza sit for ten minutes after it's removed from the oven before eating? There's a reason why: straight out of the oven, the melted cheese has an effect on the tongue somewhat akin to napalm.

What is it about frozen pizzas that make them so prone to burning the tongue?

I haven't eaten a frozen pizza in many years, but I still have vivid memories of multiple tongue burns caused by them.

Freshly made pizza has this same hazard :wacko: , speaking from personal experience.

On reflection, I think it's true that both home-made pizza and frozen pizza present tongue-burn hazards straight out of the oven--rocket-hot melted cheese is dangerous that way regardless of quality or pricetag. However, I have a couple of theories about why it may seem like burns happen more frequently with the frozen pies:

1. When it's a freshly hand-made pie, you're more likely to pause to admire your beautiful handiwork before inhaling it, giving the pie those crucial couple of moments to cool down a little; and

2. Loss of judgement, and raging munchies, due to typical late-night and/or altered states of consciousness often associated with consuming frozen pizza. :laugh:

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