Ask the Dentist: How do I deal with the burning issue of Christmas pudding?

Dentist Lucy Stock of Gentle Dental Care in Belfast came a cropper on her own Christmas cooking and offers some tips on eating with a sore mouth

Dentist Lucy Stock was on an enforced diet after burning her mouth while making Christmas pudding
Lucy Stock

THIS week I have been on the dental diet and lost half a stone – not on purpose, I might add. I have joined the clique of Christmas cooking casualties – the Christmas pudding got me.

Last week I was stewing the mandarin to go into the middle of the pud. It was bubbling away in a syrup of Cognac and sugar for a good 45 minutes and just at the end I tasted the syrup – rookie mistake. It immediately solidified into caramel and stuck to the roof of my mouth. Being of a temperature of around 160 degrees Celsius, it eradicated most of the soft tissue on my palate and tongue. Oucherama!

So, eating has been complex and difficult – hence the weight loss.

There are many things apart from burns that make eating difficult for people.

People who suffer from mouth ulcers can have a terrible run at times. If the ulcer is along the sides of your tongue or under a lip then every time you eat, pain is elicited along the nerve pathway.

Recurrent ulcers may be a sign of other diseases, such as Crohn's disease, coeliac disease, HIV or vitamin deficiencies especially of folate and B-12.

If you have recently had a new denture fitted, sore spots are, unfortunately, normal. Your dentist can adjust the denture where it is rubbing and ulcers or burns usually heal on their own in a couple of weeks. But how can you make eating easier in that initial annoying period?

Well, you can cover ulcers, burns or sore spots with special pastes. I have been doing some product testing and have found the Iglu paste to be particularly effective. The paste moulds over the area, immediately soothing the site and allowing you to eat until you are able to get to a dentist or doctor to sort out the underlying cause.

Keeping the area clean so that it doesn't get infected will also keep pain to a minimum. Corsodyl mouthwash will help to keep most mouth infections at bay. In some instances, your mouth burn may become so painful that home remedies don't provide any relief.

You may have a severe burn if white patches appear in your mouth, you develop a fever, the burn isn't healing quickly or you have trouble swallowing. Seek medical treatment if you have any of these symptoms.

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