How to treat a burn on the roof of the mouth at home
In this article, we look at seven natural remedies for burns on the roof of the mouth. We also describe how to prevent them and when to see a doctor.
Why does it happen?
Hot foods can burn the roof of the mouth. Soft and cool foods, such as honey, are natural remedies.
A person's mouth contains delicate tissues that are easily burned by very hot foods and drinks.
A hot slice of pizza will often burn the roof of the mouth because the cheese contains fats that can reach a very high temperature. Hot drinks are another common culprit.
Fats, oils, and liquids can hold heat for a long time. Consuming them before they have had time to cool can result in a burn.
Most burns on the roof of the mouth are first-degree burns, affecting only the top layer of skin. The skin is usually painful, swollen, and unusually red.
Burns can damage tissue and kill skin cells. As the roof of the mouth heals, the dead cells will fall away and reveal new cells underneath.
New skin can be tender at first, but it will quickly toughen up. A first-degree burn takes around 1 week to heal.
Seven natural home remedies
If a person has a first-degree burn, they can usually treat it at home. Taking immediate steps can limit the damage, and natural remedies can promote healing and prevent infection.
1. Cold water
Taking immediate action after burning the roof of the mouth can curb the extent of the damage. Cooling the area right away can prevent the burn from affecting inner layers of skin.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommend that anyone who experiences a burn should submerge the area in cold water for at least 10 minutes.
When the burn is in the mouth, a person can fill the mouth with cold water. When the water is no longer cool, spit it out and replace it with cold water.
Cubes or chips of ice can stick to the skin and cause further pain and damage. Instead of sucking on an ice cube, try adding some ice to a glass of water.
2. Yogurt or milk
Yogurt can ease pain caused by a burn.
Eating some cool natural yogurt or drinking a glass of milk can help to ease the discomfort of a mouth burn. Yogurt and milk coat the skin and provide a temporary barrier. This can prevent irritation and soothe itching as the wound heals.
A healthful diet can also help with healing. This can include dairy products, alongside proteins, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Drinking plenty of fluids will keep the body hydrated and support healing.
3. Aloe vera
Aloe vera gel is often used on external burns to soothe the skin. It can help to reduce inflammation and discomfort.
When applying aloe vera gel to a burn in the mouth, it is important to choose a product designed for use in this area.
Honey can help a burn on the roof of the mouth to heal. Gently coating the burn with honey keeps it moist, which can help with healing.
Some research suggests that honey has antimicrobial properties. This means that it may kill harmful organisms or slow their growth, which can prevent infection and speed the healing process.
5. Saltwater rinse
One of the skin's essential jobs is to be a barrier against infection. If the skin is damaged, it becomes vulnerable to infection.
Keeping the roof of the mouth clean can help to prevent this issue, and rinsing the mouth with salt water is a natural way to keep a burn clean.
A person can make a salt water mouth rinse at home by:
- warming some water slightly
- stirring in one-quarter teaspoon of table salt
- swishing this mixture around the mouth and spitting it out
This rinse can be used two to three times a day until the wound heals.
6. Soft foods
It is important to protect the roof of the mouth as it heals. After a burn, the damaged skin usually peels away, revealing new skin underneath. This new skin is often tender, and foods with sharp edges can cause pain or damage.
Eating soft foods can help to ensure that wounds heal and new skin has time to strengthen. Eggs, soup, and yogurt are some examples of soft foods that can help.
7. Look after the skin
As the skin heals, the area will be delicate and often sore. Avoid further discomfort by taking care not to interfere with the wound or the new skin forming beneath it.
Brushing the teeth, eating, and drinking can agitate the roof of the mouth. Some simple steps to protect the healing skin include:
- Being gentle when brushing the teeth. Consider using a manual, rather than electric, toothbrush temporarily.
- Refraining from wearing a mouth guard until the area has healed.
- Avoiding picking at loose skin. It will come away from the roof of the mouth eventually. Prematurely removing the skin can irritate the area and lead to infection.
- Avoiding hot drinks until the burn has healed.
When to see a doctor
A burn on the roof of the mouth will usually heal within 2 weeks.
A person can treat most burns on the roof of the mouth at home. Over-the-counter painkillers can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
An individual may have a first-, second-, or third-degree burn, and they are most likely to have a first-degree burn on the roof of the mouth.
People with second- or third-degree burns should seek urgent medical attention. Clear blisters and weeping skin characterize second-degree burns. Third-degree burns destroy every layer of skin, and the area will be dark brown.
Burns can be more severe in infants and older adults. They are more likely to need medical attention and treatment.
If a burn on the roof of the mouth has not healed within 2 weeks, it may be a good idea to see a doctor.
A person may need treatment if the wound becomes infected. Signs of infection include:
- redness in the area of the burn
- swelling around the wound that does not go away
- lasting pain
Being aware of foods that hold heat for long periods can help to prevent burns. Oils, fats, and liquids can reach and hold very high temperatures.
Waiting until foods and drinks have cooled and can prevent burns on the roof of the mouth.