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Treatment for burns and scalds in the mouth

Treatment for burns and scalds in the mouth

Gulping a hot drink, taking a mouthful of microwaved mince pie, biting into a cheesy pizza—all these can cause excruciating burns inside your mouth. Here's what to do if you burn your mouth

What to do if you burn your mouth

Left to its own devices, your mouth should heal completely in a week or so, but you may be able to reduce healing time if you act quickly to cool down the burn.

Just like a burn to the skin, the best thing you can do with a scalded mouth is to cool it down. And the easiest way to do that is with cold water. Spend 5 or 10 minutes rinsing, spitting and gargling with cold water until the pain in your mouth eases.

An even faster method is to use ice if you can get hold of some quickly. Suck ice cubes until the stinging stops.

Once you've finished the initial cooling off, rinse and gargle with a salt-water solution. Stir half a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water and use it to wash your mouth out. (Don't swallow it). The salt is antiseptic and will help to clean and disinfect the burned area.

The fastest and most enjoyable way to cool down a pizza-scalded mouth–especially for children—is with a scoop, or 3, of plain old ice cream.

Liquorice has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and helps to heal mucous membranes. Make a decoction by putting 10g dried liquorice root into 100ml cold water. Bring to the boil and infuse for 15 minutes. Strain, sweeten with honey, then use as a mouthwash and gargle as often as you like. Alternatively, try using liquorice tablets to soothe a sore mouth.

Things to avoid with mouth burns

For a few days after burning your mouth, steer clear of hot drinks. Let tea and coffee cool to lukewarm before inflicting them on your mouth, or stick to cold drinks for a while.

Temporarily take crusty baguettes off the lunch menu. The same applies to crisps, raw carrots and crunchy apples. Any of these foods can scratch a healing burn.

You may want to avoid hot spicy food, too, as this will irritate the damaged skin.

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