How does burning your mouth work?


Is the food giving out heat radiation, which is damaging your cells or something?

In: Biology

Yes, it’s exactly like that–though it’s not just radiation, but also conduction of heat. Hot thing pressed against your mouth = burnt mouth.

This literally cooks the tissues of your mouth, which is called a burn.

Heat damages your enzymes, specifically. Enzymes are basically these very long strings of weird microbiological stuff, all clumped together into a complex shape, and they preform specialised and simple tasks that keeps your cells alive and doing what they’re supposed to do.

Heat, however, is almost a sort of “vibration” on the molecular level. It shakes up all those tiny molecules, changing their properties, and stuff. But when there is too much heat in your body, those enzymes can shake so violently they might actually fall apart and turn back into a string, where they won’t function anymore.

This is what damages your tongue if you eat food that’s too hot (up to a certain degree. At some point you’ll damage your tongue by downright changing the physical properties of the flesh it’s made of, or when you have a fever.