Burnt my Tongue


Because I like to eat a lot and can never seem to get enough food in my life I sometimes cannot wait for the food that I realize cooked to be done cooling enough for me to not end up burning my tongue on it. I have wondered what really happens when you burn your tongue on the food, and if it is like your ear where if you damage it constantly it will not work as well again.


To answer these questions I decided to first look at the article "What To Do When You Burn Your Tongue" by Jared Laven. Mr. Laven states that "the degree of damage can range in severity." He goes on to say that "burns from pizza and other foods rarely prove more intense than first degree burns. These are often the result of scalding burns caused by hot liquids, like water or oil, and steam." This told me that you can have different degrees of burns but I was still curious to find out what actually happens when you do get burned. It is now necessary to see what the taste buds are actually like and the cycle that the taste buds go through.

            In order to find the answer to this I decided to look at the article "What Happens When You Burn Your Tongue on Hot Food" by More Smiles. According to the author each taste bud has receptor cells below the surface. The younger cells down by if not at the bottom of the cluster. Over a 10-day period the cells are constantly regenerating, moving up from the bottom to the top of the taste bud, living for a few hours and then getting washed away (Smiles). So the taste buds are constantly getting replenished every couple of hours with new cells that take the old cells place. But now we go to the key question, what happen when you burn your tongue?

            I again turned to the article "What Happens When You Burn Your Tongue on Hot Food" which seemed to have the answers. According to the article, burning the tongue only kills the top layer of cells. The tongue however, has a rich blood supply so it healed very fast (Smiles). So essentially it seems like it will take a couple of hours if not a couple of days up to about 10 depending on the burn to completely heal the burnt part since your tongue has new cells moving up to it. The time however is probably dependent on the severity of the burn, like a pizza burn would probably not take as much time because it might not burn as deep as a hot cup of water burn. One other good part that the articles state is that "repeated burns does not disable the taste buds. They are forgiving and will continue to heal quickly every single time you eat something hot" (Smiles).


            Curious about how to fix the burnt tongue I decided to look at Ehow, about different remedies to relieve the burning sensation from the tongue. According to site a couple of remedies are the;

1)    Honey and Milk Remedy

2)    Salt Water Remedy - rinse mouth with salt and water

3)    Drink cold water and fruit juice - water soothes the burning while the juice gives you vitamins

Other remedies for burning your tongue could be eating ice cream, having an ice pop, or having something with menthol, because menthol numbs your tongue because it makes your tongue feel colder.


I suppose next time I burn my tongue on pizza I will look into trying these methods. I have never really considered giving my mouth treatment considering it is the part of the body that recovers the quickest. Does the amount of skin that burns off have an accurate measure of the degree of burn that you receive?

I always wondered what exactly was going on when you burn your tongue on food and this blogpost did a good job of explaining it. I personally do not know much about burns, but this post made me think, if burns on the tongue are able to heal so quickly, why does it take so much longer for burns on skin to heal? I know that burns on skin can be much more severe than those on your tongue, but say for example there was a first degree burn on someone's tongue and skin. I feel like it is easy to say that the burn on the tongue would heal faster than that on the skin. Is this because the cells beneath the taste buds replenish themselves so quickly? And if so, how come the skin cells do not replenish as fast?
After doing some research, I read on this blog that it actually takes just about the same amount of time. I guess a first degree burn is a first degree burn no matter what part of the body it is on.

Michael, I too have never thought about really doing any kind of treatment for my tongue. I am not sure if the amount of skin that burns off does have an accurate measure of the degree of the burn. That would be pretty interesting though to find out. I tried to do some research to find out the answer to this but couldn't really find anything maybe you can find something. According to Ehow anther thing that might help with burnt tongue is to avoid rough or spicy foods or drinks (like coffee, and citric fruits), because they irritate the tongue because of the acid in them, here is the site http://www.ehow.com/way_5572243_home-remedy-burned-tongue.html.

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