By Bridget Reed

Sour Candy Tongue Burn: 6 Healing Tips

Hank the Honey Badger hates a lot of things. He hates socializing, he hates mysterious pickle jars that contain evil sorcerers, and he hates the Final Boss. But more than anything else in the whole world, Hank hates admitting his own weaknesses.

So when his tongue starts hurting from all the sour fruits he’s eating to increase his sour stamina, he tries to push through the pain. And when it gets worse, he tries to hide how much pain he’s in from Quinnie. 

Eventually, it bothers him so much that he can’t keep it to himself anymore, so he finally asks Quinnie for help. To nobody’s surprise, Quinnie knows exactly what to do.

She explains to Hank that he has a classic case of sour candy tongue burn, and it’s nothing to worry his honey badger head about. She reassures him that some of the most sour-strong creatures she knows have experienced bouts of tongue burn — they just don’t talk about it.

Quinnie knows exactly what Hank needs to do to heal, but she also knows he’ll hate it.

Why Does Sour Candy Burn?

Unfortunately, there’s no magical potion to quickly fix Hank’s tongue burn. He begrudgingly goes with Quinnie to meet with other tongue burn survivors and pick up some knowledge on how to heal so he can get back to his mission.

Blame the Acid

He’s eaten sour fruit for a long time, so why is he just now having issues? Citric acid might be a deliciously sour antioxidant with lots of cool benefits, but it’s also an acid, which means it can have some corrosive effects when consumed in high quantities.

Eating a bunch of sour candy with concentrated citric acid in it can be hard on your soft tongue — especially if you let it sit on your tongue and aren’t rinsing your mouth out by drinking a beverage with it. That makes a lot of sense, considering our heroes were just exploring the ShardShaft Mines and eating as many sour strawberries as they could get their hands on. 

Citric acid is the most abundant acid in strawberries, after all. But it’s basically Hank’s entire life mission to eat as much sour stuff as he possibly can to defeat the Final Boss, so what the heck is he supposed to do?!

How Do I Heal a Tongue Burn?

Fortunately, even though Hanks seems to think it’s the end of the world, healing a sour candy tongue burn is actually pretty easy. 

1. Take a Break

This one is non-negotiable. To heal, you have to stop doing the thing that’s causing the issue. Depending on how bad the burn is, you might need to take a week or two off. 

Maybe you can use it as an opportunity to munch on sweet or savory snacks instead for a little while. But you’ll also want to avoid foods that are too salty, spicy, hot, or crunchy during this time.

2. Neutralize

Sprinkle a little bit of baking soda over the sore spot on your tongue and let it sit there for a couple of minutes before spitting it out. Baking soda is great for dental health in general, but it’s also basic on the pH scale to help combat the acidity while soothing pain from the sour burn.

3. Honey

We’ve used honey for its health and healing properties since the Stone Age, over 8,000 years ago. Letting a little honey sit on your tongue can help soothe the discomfort and support healing.

Honey comes in around 3.2 to 4.5 on the pH scale, which means it’s technically acidic. But honey’s soothing properties make it a delicious and effective way to take the sting out of your tongue burn while also kick-starting your body’s natural healing processes.

4. Ice Chips

Let some ice melt over your sore tongue to help soothe the pain. This could also be a good time to enjoy some ice cream, milkshakes, or smoothies if you find that the cold is helpful.

5. Saltwater

This is the exception to the “no salty foods” suggestion because of salt water’s long reputation for soothing a sore mouth. Mix a little salt into some warm water and swish it around over your tongue before spitting it out. You can do this a few times a day while you’re healing to keep the sore spot clean and ease the pain.

6. Pain Relievers

If you want to just numb your tongue for a little while, you can apply a topical benzocaine numbing gel to get some relief. It’s a little pesky since you have to leave it on your tongue for a while without swallowing it or rinsing it away, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Getting Back on the Horse

It wasn’t easy, but Hank managed to stay away from sour candy long enough for his tongue to heal up and now he’s ready to get back to building up his sour stamina. But Quinnie won’t let him anywhere near the Level 3 candies until he’s taken the time to build himself back up slowly, starting with Level 1. 

To prevent the painful setback of tongue burn on your sour adventures, try slurping down some water to rinse the citric acid out of your mouth while you’re munching on your favorite sour snacks

You can also protect the enamel on your teeth by waiting to brush them until about an hour after eating sour stuff. Keeping your whole mouth healthy is the best way to guarantee you can keep eating all your favorite snacks forever!


Citric Acid Effects on Brain and Liver Oxidative Stress in Lipopolysaccharide-Treated Mice | National Library of Medicine

Compositional Variation in Sugars and Organic Acids at Different Maturity Stages in Selected Small Fruits from Pakistan | National Library of Medicine

Baking Soda Dentifrices and Oral Health | Journal of the American Dental Association

Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research | National Library of Medicine