The First Thing You Should Do When You Burn Your Mouth

It's hard to be patient when a delicious plate of food is set in front of you, or when you finally get the coffee you've been craving. However, having a little bit of patience can save you a whole lot of pain. As anyone who has burned their mouth can tell you, it is a unique and lingering kind of pain.

The Cleveland Clinic explains that hot food and drinks can cause first-degree burns. These are technically the least severe type of burn on the burn scale, but that doesn't mean they don't hurt. Stanford Health Care describes first-degree burns as those that remain dry and do not blister while still becoming red and painful. First-degree burns are also limited to the outer layer of the skin, such as sunburns. Like a sunburn, a first-degree burn can linger, especially in the sensitive tissue of the mouth.

Unfortunately, there is no way to erase the pain of a first-degree burn or heal it quickly. However, there are ways to reduce the pain and speed up the healing process by keeping the area clear of bacteria. One of the easiest steps can be taken almost immediately after the mouth is burned.

Start with a salt rinse when you burn your mouth

The Cleveland Clinic gives several suggestions for soothing your mouth after a burn. One of the easiest tips you can use almost immediately after a burn is sustained is rinsing out your mouth with a saline rinse. This will remove bacteria from the area, thus reducing the risk of infection. It can also reduce the pain of the burn. Good oral hygiene is also recommended, as this will remove irritants and aid in reducing infection risk.

While the Cleveland Clinic says that most oral burns heal within a few days, they also warn that some may lead to further complications. If the burn extends to the epiglottis — the soft flesh covering the windpipe — the area may become swollen and reduce a person's ability to breathe. This is especially dangerous in children. In the event that breathing problems start after an oral burn, the Cleveland Clinic advises going to a doctor right away. But most of the time, a salt rinse followed by over-the-counter pain medicine will be enough to soothe the burn until it heals.