Tongue Feels Like It's Burning: Causes and Treatment | (2023)

What Is a tongue burn?Why does my tongue feels like it’s burnt?

A tongue burn is a common disorder. Typically, the condition takes place after eating or drinking something that’s too hot. Standard first-aid treatment for burns can also work for a tongue burn.

A mild burn on your tongue can be an annoyance, but it will ultimately recover. If you have a serious burn, seek immediate medical attention.

In some cases, you may feel a burning sensation on your tongue without an actual burn. This condition is called burning tongue syndrome, which is also referred to as idiopathic glossopyrosis.

Causes of a Tongue Burn

Underestimating the temperature of steam, hot food, or liquids can cause a burn on your tongue, mouth, or lips. Often consuming incredibly hot food and drinks without checking the temperature puts you at a greater risk for tongue burn. Burning tongue syndrome is a condition that can make you feel the sensation of a burn on your tongue for no evident factor.

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Postmenopausal women are at an increased risk for burning tongue syndrome. This sensation can be related to lower estrogen levels, which can cause a decrease in the sensitivity of taste buds.

The two types of burning tongue syndrome are main and secondary. In main burning mouth syndrome, there is no recognized cause. Secondary burning mouth syndrome is likely caused by another medical condition.

Tongue Feels Like It's Burning: Causes and Treatment | (1)

Secondary burning mouth syndrome might be caused by:

  • dry mouth, which is frequently a side effect of medications or a symptom of another medical condition
  • thrush, which is an oral yeast infection
  • oral lichen planus, which is an often chronic inflammation inside the mouth that’s caused by the body immune system introducing an attack on the mouth’s mucous membrane cells
  • geographical tongue, which is a condition in which the tongue’s surface area is missing some of its normal small bumps called papillae and rather has areas of red and in some cases raised patches that tend to vanish and after that come back in different areas of the tongue
  • vitamin deficiencies
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • severe worry
  • dentures
  • damage to the nerves
  • allergic reaction to particular foods
  • stomach acid that makes its way into the mouth from conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD
  • medications, such as those used for high blood pressure
  • diabetes, hypothyroidism, and other endocrine disorders
  • an imbalance of hormones, such as during menopause
  • grinding the teeth, brushing the teeth too hard, using mouthwash too often, and other unhealthy oral habits

Symptoms of a Tongue Burn

A burn of the tongue will look and feel various, depending on the degree of the burn:

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  • A first-degree burn involves the outermost layer of the tongue. You’ll experience pain, and your tongue might become red and swollen.Simetimestongue feels like its burning when you are eating.
  • A second-degree burn is more painful since both the outermost layer and the under layer of the tongue are injured. Blisters may form, and the tongue will appear red and swollen.
  • A third-degree burn affects the deepest tissue of the tongue. The result is white or blackened, burnt skin. You might also experience numbness or severe pain and tongue feels like it’s burnt all time.
  • When the tongue becomes red or swollen, bumps on the tongue called papillae might vanish. This can give the tongue a smooth, instead of rough, appearance. In between these bumps are the palate. A burn might also minimize your taste as well. However this is frequently a temporary side effect unless the burn is severe.

In addition to feeling a burning sensation on the tongue, symptoms of burning tongue syndrome include:

  • a tongue that feels typical in the morning but aggravates throughout the day
  • an everyday repetition of burning symptoms
  • a metal or bitter taste that accompanies the burning sensation
  • a sensation of having a dry mouth despite regular saliva production

Complications From a Tongue Burn

If it’s not identified and treated correctly, a severe burn of the tongue can become infected. You need to constantly go to a doctor for second-degree and third-degree burns.

A burn of the tongue can also destroy palate, creating a lack of sensation where the burn occurred, according to This is normally a short-term problem because your palate regenerate about every two weeks.

If you have burning tongue syndrome, the severe, untreatable pain can sometimes lead to sensations of depression and anxiety.

Tongue BurnDiagnosis

Redness, swelling, and blistering are signs of a tongue burn. Your doctor can likely detect the condition by simply analyzing your tongue.

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Burning tongue syndrome is detected by leaving out diseases and conditions with similar symptoms. Your doctor will ask you about your oral care practices to see if any practices, such as overusing mouthwash or brushing your teeth exceedingly hard, are triggering your symptoms.

You may also receive any of the following tests to eliminate other conditions:

  • Blood tests are used to eliminate nutritional shortages, hormone imbalances, and endocrine conditions.
  • Oral samples are used to eliminate oral conditions, such as thrush and oral lichen planus.
  • Allergy tests are used to eliminate burning of the tongue caused by allergies to food or additives.
  • Saliva testing is used to rule out dry mouth.
  • Imaging tests are used to eliminate any other conditions that your doctor may suspect.
  • Mental surveys or questionnaires are used to see whether depression, anxiety, or stress may be the cause.
  • Stomach reflux tests are used to see whether or not you have GERD.

Treating a Tongue Burn

Initial treatment for a burn of the tongue ought to include fundamental emergency treatment. Your doctor ought to examine burns that display the signs and symptoms of second-degree or third-degree burns.

To prevent infection and reduce pain in a first-degree burn on the tongue:

  • Rinse the area well with cool water for a few minutes.
  • Get rid of any dirt or particles that may be on the burn.
  • Wet a tidy fabric with cool water and hold it on top of the burn.
  • Draw on ice chips or a popsicle to soothe the pain.
  • Rinse with cool water or salt water.
  • Prevent warm or hot liquids, which could aggravate the burn.
  • Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain and inflammation.
  • Spray a few grains of sugar on the tongue to eliminate pain.

Consult your physician or dentist if the burn does not improve or ends up being infected. Signs of infection may include:

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  • increased inflammation
  • swelling
  • drain of pus
  • fever

If you’re suffering from burning tongue syndrome, you may find relief from the same types of remedies as those used to treat first-degree burns. There are no clinically authorized treatments particularly for burning tongue syndrome.

Often, treating the conditions that may have caused secondary burning tongue syndrome can help. For instance, if your current medication is causing dry mouth, your doctor may recommend another prescription. If stomach acid recedes into mouth due to the fact that of acid reflux or GERD, your doctor may recommend medications like omeprazole (Prilosec) to reduce your stomach’s production of acid.

How to Prevent a Tongue Burn

You can prevent a tongue burn by checking the temperature of hot liquids and food before eating or consuming. Beverages or food heated in a microwave may not heat equally, therefore you ought to use additional caution.

There’s no recognized method to avoid burning tongue syndrome. You might have the ability to reduce the burning sensation by minimizing stress and avoiding tobacco and certain types of foods and drinks. These include carbonated drinks, acidic foods, and spicy foods.

Outlook for a Tongue Burn

A tongue burn can heal in about two weeks without particular treatment. Nevertheless, some burns can last up to 6 weeks.

(Video) Why is My Tongue Burning? | This Morning

Burning tongue syndrome can continue for months or perhaps years. According to the Cleveland Clinic, around 30 percent of people with burning tongue syndrome improve within 3 to 5 years without treatment.


What does it mean when your tongue keeps burning? ›

Nutritional Deficiencies

Deficiencies of vitamin B and minerals, such as iron and zinc, can contribute to a burnt tongue sensation. Ensure you're eating a well-balanced diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, nuts, seeds, and healthy proteins.

How long does it take for a tongue to stop burning? ›

A burning tongue will get better in a few days, but it's relieving to know you have some home remedies to get rid of a burnt tongue.

What medication causes burning tongue? ›

However, several medications have been reported to induce BMS. These include the following: efavirenz, clonazepam, hormonal replacement therapies, fluoxetine, sertraline and a broad range of antihypertensive agents such as captopril, enalapril, and lisinopril [11].

What viruses cause burning tongue? ›

Varicella zoster virus (VZV), as well as herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), can cause burning mouth syndrome, with or without rash.

What vitamin deficiency causes burning tongue? ›

Iron deficiency anaemia, deficiencies of Vitamin B2, folic acid, Vitamin B12 and zinc can cause burning sensation of the tongue.

What vitamins help burning mouth syndrome? ›

Vitamin B and zinc supplement therapy and topical capsaicin rinse therapy can be an effective way to decrease pain/burning sensation levels in patients with BMS.

How common is burning tongue? ›

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a benign condition that presents as a burning sensation in the absence of any obvious findings in the mouth and in the absence of abnormal blood tests. BMS affects around 2% of the population with women being up to seven times more likely to be diagnosed than men.

What toothpaste is good for burning mouth syndrome? ›

Destined to be your new main squeeze, Oxyfresh Fresh Breath Lemon Mint Toothpaste is the best toothpaste for Burning Mouth Syndrome or sensitivities to SLS. With its delicate blend of seven essential oils, you're guaranteed a hydrating, fresh experience every time you brush.

What foods irritate the tongue? ›

Avoiding spicy and irritating foods

Spicy and acidic foods (like pineapple, lemon, and tomato) can worsen tongue soreness. Until the soreness goes away, avoid these foods. Instead, eat soft, bland foods, like mashed potatoes and oatmeal.

Is burning tongue a symptom of diabetes? ›

Most diabetic patients are found to have oral manifestations, e.g., periodontal disease, xerostomia, burning mouth, salivary gland dysfunction, geographic tongue, candidiasis, etc. Buccal alterations could also be easily observed in patients with DM, especially coated tongue.

Can anxiety cause burning mouth syndrome? ›

Anxiety was independently associated with a 123.80 times greater risk of having BMS (P = 0.004). Psychological factors are directly associated with BMS, and anxiety is the most important of these factor.

Can stress cause your tongue to burn? ›

Burning Mouth Syndrome: this syndrome is characterised by an unpleasant burning sensation on the tongue, lips, gums or palate. It can be caused by psychological factors brought on by stress.

How do you feel if your B12 is low? ›

What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia?
  • Weak muscles.
  • Numb or tingling feeling in hands and feet.
  • Trouble walking.
  • Nausea.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Irritability.
  • Lack of energy or tiring easily (fatigue)

Can hormone imbalance cause burning tongue? ›

Burning tongue is often associated with low oestrogen levels and is therefore a frequent complaint of peri-menopausal and menopausal women. Burning Tongue Syndrome can also be caused by: diabetes, a side effect of certain medications, an allergic reaction, depression or nutritional deficiencies (among other causes).

What OTC medicine can I take for burning mouth? ›

No over-the-counter medications are available for burning mouth syndrome (BMS). You can take other steps to help relieve the symptoms: Drink plenty of fluids. Suck on ice chips.

What is the home remedy for burning mouth syndrome? ›

What home remedies can help?
  1. Take fluids and ice. The pain of BMS sometimes improves when eating or drinking. ...
  2. Avoid problematic foods and drinks. Strong-tasting or harsh foods and beverages can irritate the mouth. ...
  3. Change dental hygiene products and habits. ...
  4. Quit smoking. ...
  5. Address medical conditions. ...
  6. Reduce stress. ...
  7. Seek support.

Can acid reflux cause a burning tongue? ›

If you have acid reflux, you will likely experience a frequent burning sensation on your tongue, cheeks, or roof of your mouth. The sensation is caused by excess stomach acid that washes up into your mouth. Acid reflux can also cause a sour or bitter taste in your mouth.

Is a burning tongue a symptom of anxiety? ›

Effects of anxiety on your tongue and mouth

Some people with anxiety disorders often experience a tingling sensation on their tongue, commonly referred to as “anxiety tongue” or “stress tongue.” Anxiety tongue may also involve swelling, muscle spasms, or burning sensations.

Can thyroid cause burning mouth syndrome? ›

Conclusions: This study reveals that subjects with thyroid alterations are often considered to be BMS patients and that hypothyroidism could be responsible for oral burning and/or dysgeusia in some supertaster subjects.

Can neuropathy cause burning tongue? ›

Our study demonstrates that burning mouth syndrome is caused by a trigeminal small-fiber sensory neuropathy and that superficial biopsy of the tongue can be helpful in assessing the diagnosis.

Can burning tongue be serious? ›

Although tongue burns are unpleasant, they're usually not serious. Drinking cold beverages and eating soft, cool foods can help. Pain medications, like over-the-counter NSAIDs, can relieve pain and inflammation. With most burns, your tongue and taste buds will heal within a week or two.

Can burning tongue be caused by stress? ›

Anxiety symptom burning tongue description:

This sensation may affect your tongue, lips, gums, palate, throat, teeth, or your entire mouth. This sensation can have several different patterns. For example, it may occur every day, with little pain upon waking up but becoming more severe throughout the day.

What vitamins help burning tongue syndrome? ›

Vitamin B and zinc supplement therapy and topical capsaicin rinse therapy can be an effective way to decrease pain/burning sensation levels in patients with BMS.

What would cause your mouth and tongue to burn? ›

Allergies or reactions to foods, food flavorings, other food additives, fragrances or dyes, dental materials, or mouth care products. Reflux of stomach acid that enters your mouth from your stomach, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Certain medicines, especially high blood pressure medicines.

Can a dentist help with burning mouth? ›

Treatment. Your dentist may help you manage oral habits that contribute to BMS, such as tooth grinding or jaw clenching. Your dentist or doctor may prescribe medication that can help control pain and relieve dry mouth. Sometimes a small dose of topical or systemic clonazepam might help with BMS pain.

What is the best mouth wash for burning mouth? ›

Your dentist may recommend an alcohol-free mouthwash to ensure your mouth is not further irritated. You can also use mild-flavored, flavor-free, or sensitivity toothpaste to help relieve symptoms.


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