The scenario should be familiar to many of us: you take your first bite of a steaming hot pizza slice or drink your first sip of hot coffee and suddenly, you experience a searing pain across the roof of your mouth as the hot cheese, pizza sauce, or liquid delivers a scalding burn. You've just developed a very painful case of "pizza burn," and your life is about to be unpleasant for at least a week to ten days. At least you won't be alone, since this is a fairly common food-related accident. To treat this type of burn, use ice to soothe the pain, and use a salt water gargle to help keep the roof of your mouth clean.
The first course of action may be as close as your glass of water or soda. Grab a few ice cubes and apply them directly to the affected area. The skin tissue protecting the roof of your mouth is extremely thin, so a serious burn can blister very easily and leave the area open to opportunistic infections. You may also notice at least one flap of damaged skin tissue hanging down from your palate area. Applying ice to the injury should help reduce the immediate pain and swelling.
As soon as it becomes convenient to do so, you should begin regular rinses and gargles with salt water. This doesn't necessarily mean creating a thick saline solution, but a teaspoon of salt dissolved in a standard glass of water should do the trick. The salt water should help leech out excess fluids and keep the area sanitary until it heals in a week to ten days. There are also some commercial oral health products that can also be used to form a protective barrier over the pizza burn.
Until a mouth burn heals completely, you should avoid eating foods with sharp edges or rough textures, such as corn chips or popcorn. Eating softer foods, like ice cream, can aid in the healing process by providing a soothing coating of milk along with beneficial cooling. Spicy foods may also be problematic, since the spices may aggravate the damaged tissues and the food itself may promote unhealthy bacterial growth. Be careful when eating hot foods as well, since the heat may cause pain.
Prevention may be the best way to avoid this type of burn. Never eat a food straight out of the oven or microwave, since there may still be considerable residual heat from the cooking process. Allow hot foods to cool down, especially those that tend to retain heat, such as cheeses, sauces, and hot beverages. Use a knife and fork to eat hot pizza slices, which will prevent cheese and sauce from contacting the sensitive roof of your mouth. Never bite into a fried food item before determining how hot the contents may be. Pizza burn is not limited to pizza, so use caution whenever a food is served piping hot from an oven, microwave or deep fryer.