Misjudging the temperature of a hot cup of coffee or slurp of soup may require you to pay the painful consequences for days or weeks. As long as the burn in your mouth is mild, all you need to do is take steps to soothe your discomfort until the sensitive tissue heals on its own. However, a more severe internal mouth burn can require immediate medical attention.
Soothe Your Mouth
Some signs and symptoms of a first-degree burn — the mildest form of a burn — are pain, redness, dryness and minor swelling, according to KidsHealth. If you have a first-degree burn in your mouth, the topmost layer of affected tissue in your mouth may peel in one or two days, and your mouth should heal on its own in about three to six days. In the meantime, using an anesthetic mouthwash or cold-sore medication on the affected area may help numb your mouth and reduce the risk of infection in the burned areas. Sucking on popsicles or ice, gargling with cool water and taking a pain reliever such as acetaminophen can also help reduce your discomfort.
Your mouth will naturally be more sensitive when it is healing. Avoid consuming hot foods and drinks, salty foods, spicy foods and citrus products until the tissue in your mouth is back to normal, recommends MedlinePlus. Minty toothpaste, cinnamon and acidic products such as tomatoes, soft drinks and coffee may also cause extra irritation. Also take extra care to avoid aggravating your mouth with careless behaviors such as chewing foods quickly and brushing your teeth aggressively with a hard-bristle toothbrush.
Second- and third-degree burns in your mouth and throat can lead to serious consequences if you don't get medical attention right away. Second-degree burns — which often cause severe pain, redness and blistering — are burns that involve 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 — which can lead to dry brown, charred, or waxy white skin — involve all layers of underlying tissues and may require a skin graft, according to KidsHealth. 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 pus and increases in redness.
Call your doctor or dentist if you experience chronic burning sensations in your mouth and you're not sure what caused it. A condition called burning-mouth syndrome can lead to burning sensations on your tongue, gums, inner cheeks and the roof of your mouth, according to MayoClinic.com. The pain may be constant, come and go, or worsen every day throughout the day. Burning-mouth syndrome has many potential causes, including an oral yeast infection, dry mouth, depression, a nutritional deficiency, nerve damage and hormonal imbalances. Your doctor will assess your signs and symptoms in an effort to determine the underlying cause — although sometimes the cause is never detectable — and create an appropriate treatment plan.