Have ever burned your mouth or tongue by taking a nice big bite out of a hot slice of pizza, sipping a spoonful of boiling soup, fresh off the stove, or perhaps taken a gulp from a cup of scalding coffee or tea? If so, you know how painful that can be.

Here’s what you can do, if that happens again.

Step 1: Drink Cold Water

What you do immediately after burning your mouth or tongue determines your speed of recovery. Quickly drink a glass of cold water. This will not only cool down your mouth, but will also keep your body hydrated so that your mouth can produce the saliva it needs to protect the burned area from bacteria.

Step 2: Eat and Drink Cool

Cool foods and beverages take the sting out of a burn, so grab some cottage cheese or applesauce from the fridge. On the up side, burning your mouth is a great excuse to have a smoothie, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.

And don’t forget to continue sipping cold water.

Step 3: Swish with Salt Water

At some point in your life a doctor or wise relative probably advised you to gargle with salt water to help you get over a sore throat. That same technique works well as a remedy for sore gums, discomfort from a recent dental procedure, and to ease the pain of a burned tongue or mouth.

Swishing with salt water temporarily makes our mouths more alkaline, which makes life difficult for harmful oral bacteria.

To make your salt water rinse, just add half a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water and stir. Swish it around your mouth for about thirty seconds and then spit it out. Do this several times a day.

Step 4: A Remedy that Predates Modern Medicine

Believe it or not, another way to speed up the healing process for your burned tongue is to apply honey or sugar directly to the tender area. Sugar is a quick source of energy for the cells that are trying to heal and, according to studies, honey may be even more effective at promoting healing than sugar. Just make sure to drink water afterward to wash away the sugary residue.

Step 5: Pain Medication

If these solutions are not sufficient to relieve the pain, you can turn to over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Luckily, the mouth area heals more quickly than any other part of the body, so even a particularly painful burn to the tongue should be gone within a few days.

Burning Tongue Syndrome

Some people have a chronic condition called burning tongue syndrome, where their tongue feels burned for no apparent reason. This condition is unusual. However, if your tongue feels burned and you can’t figure out the cause, schedule an appointment with us.

We hope this information helps the next time you burn your tongue or mouth on that piece of cherry pie right from the oven, or some other tempting culinary culprit.