Burnt Tongue – Causes, Symptoms, Risks, Treatment, and More

Have you ever been impatience in eating hot food or taking hot drinks? If you did so, you might experience the condition of a Burnt Tongue.

If you are worried about your condition, you are in the right hands, this article is especially for you. We aim to provide a complete guide on the burning of the tongue including its causes, symptoms, and treatments. Keep reading to learn.

Burnt Tongue

A burnt tongue is a common condition that usually occurs due to impatience in eating hot food. After eating or drinking something too hot you can experience this ailment. Also read about Masseter Botox.

A mild burning on your tongue will heal quickly, but it can still bother you. In serious burning conditions, immediately contact your doctor to seek medical attention.

Besides, in some cases, without any actual burn, you may feel a burning sensation in the mouth. This condition is called idiopathic glossopyrosis which is also commonly known as Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS).

American Academy of Oral Medicine (AAOM) states that in the US approximately 2 percent of people have BMS. The following parts of the mouth are usually affected by BMS:

  • The tongue
  • The roof of the mouth
  • Lips
  • Gums
  • Cheeks

Causes of Burnt Tongue

Consuming hot foods or liquids without estimating their temperature. Some people scorch their mouths due to impatience in consuming hot foods and liquids.

Frequently consuming hot things can put you at higher risk to experience burnt tongue. Moreover, frequently consuming too many spicy foods may cause tongue scorch.

The minor burn may remain for several hours and eventually resolve without treatment.

A boy has a burnt tongue due to consuming something hot.

Causes of Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)

In this condition, you will feel the sensation of burning in the mouth without any obvious reason. People with this condition often experience numbness, changes in taste, and tingling in the mouth along with pain.

This ailment increases with age and women and men between the ages of 60 to 69 are most prone to it. The cause of BMS is not clear and experts have linked it to dysfunction of mouth nerves.

BMS is divided into two categories i.e, primary and secondary BMS. In primary or true BMS, the results are from the direct cause. In secondary BMS, the causes are from an indirect source. 

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center states the primary BMS is caused by damage to nerves that control pain and taste sensation.

Secondary BMS can cause may be due to the following reasons:

  • Allergies to certain food or dental products
  • Diabetes
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Geographic tongue, a condition that results from the loss of papillae (tiny hairlike projections) from the tongue surface.
  • Dry mouth
  • Mouth infections
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GER)
  • Medications, like those used for high blood pressure
  • Deficiency of nutritional, learn about Geritol that prevent from deficiency of vitamins.
  • Hypothyroidism

A person’s habits may be included in other secondary causes of BMS:

  • often biting the tip of the tongue
  • consuming too many acidic or spicy food or drinks
  • teeth grinding on a regular basis. learn about Masseter Botox for teeth grinding.
  • wearing unsuitable dentures
  • overuse of oral hygiene products such as mouthwash
  • overbrushing the tongue

Symptoms of Burnt Tongue

A burnt tongue depends on the degree it has burned. The condition of the tongue is divided into three degrees, and it seems and feels different depending on them.

  • In the first-degree burn, the outermost layer of the tongue is involved. In this condition, a person can experience pain and the tongue can become red and swell.
  • The outermost layer and the underlayer of the tongue can be injured in the second degree of burn. It is more painful than the first and the blisters may form on the tongue surface.
  • The last and third-degree burns involve the deepest tissue of the tongue. This results in white or black skin burnt and a person may also experience excruciating pain and numbness.

A mild burn lessens your taste sensation, but it is a temporary side effect.

Burning mouth syndrome

The symptoms of BMS in addition to a burning sensation can include:

  • A feeling of pain in the tongue that can be mild, moderate, or severe.
  • Tingling and numbness
  • A feeling of dry mouth
  • Sensation of burning in the mouth
  • A metallic taste or bitter taste
  • The feeling of increased thirst
  • Loss or reduction in taste

The parts of the mouth that are commonly affected by BMS:

  • The tongue
  • Gums
  • Inner cheeks
  • Roof of the mouth
  • Throat
  • Lips

Besides these parts, it is possible that it affects the whole mouth.

Complications associated with a burnt tongue

A burnt tongue should not be taken easy, especially when it is a second or third-degree burn. A severe burn can worsen the condition of the tongue and become infected if it is left untreated.

It has the potential to destroy the taste buds which can lessen the taste sensation. Therefore, it is always recommended that to seek immediate medical help for second and third-degree burns.

Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)

Severe BMS can cause chronic pain which can lead to anxiety or depression.

How to diagnose a Burnt tongue?

To diagnose your burnt tongue, contact your board-certified doctor. He will diagnose the condition by physically examining the tongue’s appearance.

After examining, he will prescribe you medication or treatment according to the degree of burn.

Diagnosing Burning Mouth Syndrome

BMS is not diagnosed by any test, instead, the doctor will:

  • Ask you to describe your medical history and medication
  • Look into your mouth to examine
  • Ask you about your oral habits, symptoms, and oral care routine

Moreover, he may suggest you some tests to find out other conditions. These are:

  • Blood Tests. These are usually done to check nutritional deficiencies, immune function, thyroid function, and glucose levels.
  • Oral Tests. These tests help to rule out whether you have a fungal, bacterial, or viral infection.
  • Allergy Test. These tests are usually done to check whether the burning of the tongue is due to an allergy to a specific food.
  • Saliva testing
  • Imaging tests
  • Gastric reflux tests to diagnose whether you have GERD.

How to heal a burnt tongue?

There are varieties of home remedies that can be helpful to heal a burnt tongue. Most of the ingredients you can find easily in your home, or you can purchase them from a local store.

  • Avoid consuming hot foods for a while
  • Rise the burnt area with cool water for a few minutes   
  • Suck on ice cubes to reduce the irritation
  • Dissolve 1/8 teaspoon of salt in cool water and rinse your mouth with it.
  • Put some honey on your tongue to soothe the pain
  • You can use an over-the-counter pain killer to reduce the pain from burning.
  • Applying aloe gel to the burn area will speed up the healing process.

If these remedies don’t help and show the signs of infections, contact your doctor immediately. Signs of infections may include:

  • Poor healing
  • Swelling
  • Increase in pain
  • Increase in redness
  • Blisters
  • Pus drainage
  • Fever

A first-degree burn can heal in a day or two without any specific treatment. However, for severe burns, you should contact a doctor and it may take several weeks to heal.

Burning Mouth Syndrome Treatment

A patient with BMS may find relief from the types of remedies we mentioned above.

For BMS, there is still no medically approved treatment. However, specialists in pain management found some treatments that can be useful in some cases. These are:

  • Avoid consuming spicy or acidic food
  • Quitting smoking
  • Reducing stress
  • Some topical medications such as doxepin, lidocaine, and clonazepam
  • Oral medications include gabapentin, amitriptyline, and SSPIs.
  • Some therapies are relaxation techniques and complementary treatments such as alpha lipoic acid.

BMS can be hard to manage and several months or even a year can take to heal it. According to some studies, 3 out of 10 people get healed with treatment.


A burnt tongue is a common occurrence and can be discomforting or irritating. Usually, this problem occurs due to impatience while consuming hot foods and fluids.

A mild burn heals up in a day or two without the use of any remedy.

Besides you may feel a burning sensation without any actual burn, this is called BMS (burning mouth syndrome). This condition is different from actual burning caused by consuming something hot.

Contact your doctor immediately if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above.

Note: This article is just for informational purposes not for any professional use. For any additional questions, you may contact us without any hesitance. We are always available for your guidance, thanks for reading. Stay Healthy!