Why Does My Tongue Burn After Eating Sour Candy?

Don’t you just love it when you place that sour candy on your tongue? At that moment, the delicious flavors enter your system for you to enjoy. Hmmm OWWWW!! What the – what is that? That tongue burning sensation. Now why on earth would sour candy do this to us? Is it normal for sour candy to burn your tongue when you eat it? Together, we’re going to investigate why this occurs and how we can resolve it. So hang in there for just a few more minutes!

So, why does my tongue burn after eating sour candy? Your tongue may burn after eating sour candy due to too much acidic load. Sour candy gets its sour taste by containing several edible acids, including malic acid and citric acid. Too many of these acids on your tongue will result in a burning sensation as these acids will eat into the surface of your tongue, making it sensitive and raw.

Sounds pretty intense, doesn’t it.

Well, it is when you think about it.

So if you are a little concerned; keep reading as we will be looking at if actual damage is done and what you can do about it!

Why Does Sour Candy Burn Your Tongue?

Sour candy can burn your tongue because it contains several edible acids that will decrease the pH levels in your mouth significantly. This means that the candy is so acidic that if you eat too many, it could start to burn your tongue.

Sour candy doesn’t just taste sour because Willy Wonka casts a spell on it.

It has to get that sour taste from somewhere. And it gets it from certain edible acids.

Many of these acids are naturally found in other foods like citrus fruits.

But when included in a candy recipe, they can give that candy the sour kick it is aiming for. The higher the acid measurements in the recipe, the sourer it will be.

Two of the acids predominantly used in making sour candies are citric acid and malic acid. Now, let’s just hold that thought for a moment and talk about pH levels.

pH level is the measure of acidity. The lower the pH level score, the more acidic something is. Water, for example, has a pH level of 7.0, whereas battery acid, which, funnily enough, is really acidic, has a pH level of 1.0.

A lot of the sour candies you will find on the store shelves contain pH levels closer to battery acid score than that of water. Yikes! That means they’re very acidic, indeed.

Here are some pH level scores for some of the most popular sour candies:

Candy pH Level 

So why is this all such a problem? How does it cause the burning sensations on your tongue?

Well, because these sour candies have such low pH levels, they bring the pH level in your mouth significantly down.

The more sour candy you eat, the lower your mouth’s pH level will go.

If the pH level in your mouth stays too low for too long, then the layer of cells on the surface of your tongue will acidify.

This means your tongue’s surface cells are being burnt into by the acidic ingredients.

When this happens, pH-sensitive nerve fibers in your tongue will activate, and these are what send the sensations of pain to your brain.

These pain sensations will be that of burning because that is effectively what the acid is doing to your tongue at that time. 

But why, if these acids are also contained in citrus fruits, do our tongues not burn when we eat them?

Well, sour candies have that combination of acid with sugar. Sugar is sticky. So when you eat sour candy, the sugar will help the acids stick to your tongue a lot more easily. Ouch! 

Does Sour Candy Cause Damage To Your Tongue?

Sour candy can cause temporary damage to your tongue by burning through its surface layer of cells.

We need acids in our sour candy. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be sour. And what would be the point of that?

Unfortunately, sour candy comes with a unique risk because it contains these acids.

These acids will make your tongue burn, but is any damage actually taking place here?

Well, yes, damage is taking place. You see, the reason your tongue feels like it is burning is that the acids are eating into it.

Think about it. Acids are corrosive. If you pour some of the strong acids onto surfaces, then they may corrode them. 

Ever heard of an acid burn?

We’re getting somewhere now, I think.

So whilst sour candy and edible acids are safe, there is a danger that comes with eating too much.

So sour candy can damage your tongue, but the damage should only be temporary.

Tongue damage can be prevented, and it can be easily healed as well, as we’ll discuss soon.

How Long Will My Tongue Hurt After Eating Sour Candy?

Your tongue will hurt for a few days after eating sour candy that has caused burning. The best-case scenario is that it will stop hurting after just one.

Yes, it’s painful stuff, this overindulgence. Your tongue won’t just hurt for a moment. It will probably hurt for a bit longer.

After burning your tongue on sour candy, the cells in your tongue’s surface layer will have acidified. 

But don’t panic! These cells will completely regenerate within 10 days. 

Again, don’t panic! Because that doesn’t mean that you’ll have to wait 10 days for the pain to subside. That occurs much sooner.

After you’ve burnt your tongue on sour candy, it will be raw, sensitive, and painful but only for a few days. 

The more sour candy you’ve eaten, the longer it will take for your tongue to stop hurting.

Once the top layer of skin peels off from the burn mark, that’s when you’ll be able to start enjoying food again.

Of course, if you haven’t eaten too much sour candy and you apply some of the methods of healing I highlight in the following section, then your tongue could stop hurting pretty quickly. Probably within a day!

How To Eat Sour Candy Without Burning Your Tongue

You can eat sour candy without burning your tongue by limiting consumption, not sucking it too much, staying hydrated, and chewing gum.

Let’s go through each method one by one.

Limit Consumption 

It goes without saying. A burnt tongue after eating sour candy is caused by eating too much.

So if you want to eat sour candy without burning your tongue, don’t eat too much!

Don’t Suck Too Much

If you suck on sour candy too much, you’ll be subjecting your tongue to more acids.

As we know, acids are the ingredient that causes a burning tongue from sour candy. So eat it properly.

And don’t chew with your mouth open!

Stay Hydrated

Yep, good old H2o will help you out here.

Not only will water help restore your pH levels to a normal state, but it will also help wash the acids off your tongue and down into your gut.

Chew Gum After

Saliva is key here, as I’ll discuss it a little more soon.

To produce more saliva, chew gum! Just make sure it’s not sour-flavored gum!

How Do You Get Rid Of A Sour Tongue Burn?

After a certain amount of time, your tongue will heal of its own accord. However, there are some things you can do to speed up your recovery.

Humans can heal themselves to some extent. If we have our arms chopped off, we can’t grow one back.

However, our bodies will heal certain wounds. Luckily a burnt tongue is one of them.

After you’ve burnt your tongue from eating too much sour candy, saliva in your mouth will help return your pH level back to normal.

As mentioned earlier, your tongue should finish healing itself, but this will vary by person.

How much sour candy and how badly your tongue has burned will impact how quickly it takes for your tongue to heal.

But there are some things you can do to speed this process up.

Drink Water

One of the most effective ways to help your tongue is by drinking plenty of water.

As you saw earlier, water has a very high pH level of 7.0. So drinking lots of water will help stabilize your mouth’s pH level much quicker.

Here are some other tips for dealing with a burnt tongue post sour candy eating.

Consider Applying Benzocaine

Apply some Benzocaine Oral Gel on the point where your tongue has burned.

This can be used to used to temporarily reduce the pain.

Try Baking Soda 

Place a tiny amount of baking soda on the burn to lessen the pain.

Once the painful sensations cease, then spit out the baking soda.

Be Careful What You Eat

Don’t eat anything that could exacerbate the burn.

More sour candy, obviously but also stay away from spicy, salty, citrusy, and crunchy foods!

Read more: How to Heal Your Tongue After Eating Sour Candy

Finally

Well, now you know that burning your tongue after eating sour candy is normal…as long as you’ve been eating too much.

Don’t worry; it’s nothing to be afraid of. The healing will start immediately…as long as you stop eating sour candy.

Follow my top tips today, and should be back eating your favorite candies in no time at all.

Other sour candy guides you may want to check out: