We have all had it happen…we are sitting in our favorite pizza place waiting for our food to arrive and we impatiently take that first bite as soon as it comes. Next thing we know, we’ve just burned our tongue or roof of the mouth with the hot pizza. That burned mouth pain will remind us, that we should have waited for that pizza to cool off. We now, regretfully, look towards days of discomfort and pain.
Degrees Of Burn
First Degree Burn – normal signs and symptoms of a 1st degree burn include pain, redness, dryness, and minimal swelling. If you have a first-degree burn in your mouth, the topmost layer of affected tissue in your mouth may peel in 1-2 days, and your mouth should heal on its own in about 3-6 days time. This is the usual “pizza burn”.
Second degree burns -This level of burn in your mouth and throat can lead to further complications. Second-degree burns often cause severe pain, redness and blistering. This burn involves layers beneath your top layer of skin. They may not heal for weeks and are at higher risk of complications such as infection.
Third-degree burns-This type of burn requires immediate medical attention. Third degree burns can lead to dry, brown, charred, or waxy, white skin. This type of burn usually involves all layers of underlying tissues and may require a skin graft. Because this type of burn damages the nerves, it may not initially be painful. Get immediate medical attention if you think your mouth has a second- or third-degree burn or if you have any internal mouth burn that swells, develops infection and increases in redness.
Tips For A “Pizza Burned” Mouth
The next time a first degree mouth burn happens to you, follow these simple steps to find relief and let it heal faster:
1. Apply Ice – Sucking on an ice cube or eating ice cream can help bring relief from the burning sensation. Even gargling with ice cold water can give relief.
2. Drink Milk – Milk is a great tool in this situation because of its coating action on the skin in the mouth. The milk will coat the burned area.
3. Pain Medication – These can include Tylenol, Advil, Aspirin, or Alleve. These are all good choices to relieve some of the discomfort. A product called orabase is sometimes helpful as well. Orabase is a topical anesthetic that can help directly on the burned area acting in a localized way. Don’t use anbesol or aspirin directly on a burn, it tends to further irritate the damaged tissues.
4. Avoid Certain Foods – While the burn is healing you want to avoid any food that might irritate it further. These can include acidic foods, crunchy foods, very hot foods, or even very salty and spicy dressings.
5. Vitamin E – This has been shown to promote would healing so squeezing vitamin E from a capsule over the wound can speed up healing and allow new tissue to grow in and heal the wound.
Another good tip is to maintain good oral hygiene during this period to avoid further infection or irritation. You should keep the area as clean as possible just like any wound on the body. Warm saline rinses are also helpful. This extra care will facilitate healing.
All of us have burned our mouths in the past, and are highly likely to do it again in the future. Try to monitor the temperature of the foods you will be eating, and remember to be patient enough to wait before eating smoking hot food.Use your best judgement before diving into a scalding hot meal or drink, and you will have less frequent painful mouth burns. Another good tip, is to take smaller test bites, so if it is too hot, we would only create a very small burn to our mouth and not have as much discomfort. So, enjoy your pizza, take care not to burn yourself, and if you do, take the proper steps for relief. If burn persists, see your dentist.