Pizza Pizza! Watch Out!

It’s happened to the best of us at one time or another: We know that we should probably wait for that hot pizza to cool down before taking a bite but you’re hungry and it smells so good. You take out that first piece, dripping with cheese, take a big bit and…yow! The result is searing pain from a burned tongue, a burned mouth, and sometimes even burned gums. Now you have ‘pizza palate’. Other hot foods and liquids also can burn the roof (palate) of your mouth. These types of burns have come to be called “pizza palate” because they are most commonly caused by pizza.

These burns usually are minor and heal within a few days but the roof of your mouth will be tender. In some cases, it will blister. The affected area probably will feel raw and slightly swollen. These types of burns usually heal in three to seven days, depending on how severe they are.

The damage is done – the too-hot food has been consumed, and your burned mouth is in pain. Now what? Step one is to get something cool in your mouth to relieve the pain. Suck on an ice cube or a frozen Popsicle to help alleviate the burning sensation. It’s a good idea to coat your burned tongue or mouth with something soothing that provides another layer of relief. Milk is an excellent choice because of its coating action.

Warm salt water rinses after meals will help keep the area clean. To make the rinse, dissolve 1/8 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics may relieve pain from eating in severe cases.

If the soreness and blistering persist beyond seven days, call Dr. Still. The prognosis is excellent, if wounds are cared for properly. The condition should improve within a week, often sooner. Meanwhile, stick to soft foods and cool liquids. Avoid hard, crusty foods that can further irritate your mouth. And stay away from hot pizza!