- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 19 December 2017, 9:30AM
With Christmas time is in full force, we are all tucking into more hot food.
But each tasty dollop of gravy, festive coffee, or even melted cheese dip carries with it a perilous danger: a burned mouth.
Those who can't resist diving in before the food cools down will be left with a sore and numb patch on their tongue and roof palate for days.
Unfortunately, burning takes time to heal, and there's not much you can do for a quick fix.
However, Dr Eunjung Jo, a dentist at Astor Smile Dental in New York City, explains there are some golden rules to follow to avoid aggravating the burn and speed up your recovery, the Daily Mail reports.
Dr Jo has treated countless people for burned mouths, usually on the roof of the mouth and often caused by pizza and cigarettes - popular poisons in New York.
These burns tend to be first-degree, burning the outer-most layer of the skin.
Burns on the tongue heal faster than on the roof of the mouth, Dr Jo explains, since the tongue has the most blood vessel supply in the entire body.
However, the pain can be searing since the skin here is more sensitive than other parts of the body, and it doesn't have any fat between the skin and the bones. As a result, it usually lingers two to three days.
Here, Dr Jo explains what can be done to prevent the burn lingering longer than it has to:
1. Soft diet
"Try to stick to a soft diet, nothing that will make the burn worse," Dr Jo says.
That means chips and nuts and other textured foods are off the menu.
Instead, Dr Jo recommends yogurt and sushi. "They are soft, they won't irritate the palate or the tongue," she explains.
2. Avoid anything too hot or too cold or spicy
"You want the healing process to go smooth without interruptions," Dr Jo explains.
That means no spice, no noodles, no soup, and no iced drinks.
"Anything cold, hot or spicy will aggravate the burn, you want to make sure everything is room temperature."
3. No acidic drinks
Coffee, wine and soda should all be off the menu for at least two days, Dr Jo warns.
All three are incredibly acidic, meaning they will irritate skin as it's healing, potentially delaying the entire process.
Asked if milk could dampen the acid in coffee and make it more mouth-friendly, Dr Jo said: "No just best to avoid it."
4. Keep your mouth clean
Bacteria in an open wound can lead to infection and prevent healing - we know that from knee grazes and cuts.
It is the same for the mouth.
After a burn, brush your teeth thoroughly, use mouthwash, and drink plenty of water to wash out any built-up food or bacteria from your mouth.
5. Medicinal treatments
For those who have suffered particularly bad burns, Dr Jo prescribes a mouthwash, such as viscous lidocaine.
This article was first published on Daily Mail and is republished here with permission.