How Long Does a Spicy Tongue Last?

The spicy tongue is the burning feeling you get in your mouth and on your tongue after eating spicy foods. Even if you are a spicy food lover, you may experience a spicy tongue once in a while, especially if you are eating something extra spicy. So how long will your spicy tongue last?

Spicy tongue lasts for around twenty minutes, but it may last longer if you eat something really spicy. You can help make the spicy tongue go away faster if you eat or drink dairy products, like a glass of milk, or have a spoonful of sugar or honey that will help dissolve the spicy molecules. 

This article explains how long a spicy tongue lasts and what causes a spicy tongue. Then, we will look into some ways to help make your mouth feel better and make the burning feeling go away faster when you have a spicy tongue.

How Long a Spicy Tongue Lasts

A spicy tongue is not a good feeling, especially if it is bad since you ate something very spicy. Usually, a spicy tongue goes away within twenty minutes. However, how long a spicy tongue lasts varies from person to person due to several reasons:

Spice Tolerance

For spicy food lovers, your spicy tongue might not last that long since your mouth and body are used to the spice. 

The exception is if you are eating something extremely spicy that you are not used to, like the hottest of peppers. Even if you are always eating spicy foods, the high amount of spice will affect your tongue, and your spicy tongue may last longer than twenty minutes. 

The cell receptors in your mouth or tongue recognize and handle a certain level of spiciness. Once the level surpasses the threshold, these receptors will send a signal to your brain to warn you that you have reached your limit. That is when you start feeling hot, sweating, or having runny nose.

Genetics

Genetics

Some people also suffer from a spicy tongue for a relatively shorter amount of time due to having genetically fewer cell receptors sensitive to capsaicin. It means that they detect the spice level much later and the burning sensation lasts much shorter.

Everyone has a different reaction to capsaicin. Some people do not like spicy food, which is usually because their mouths are more sensitive to capsaicin. Even if you are a spicy food lover, your mouth is still a little sensitive to capsaicin, so even the hottest food lovers will get a spicy tongue once in a while.

Why We Get Spicy Tongue

Now that we know how long a spicy tongue lasts, we should understand what causes a spicy tongue. All of our favorite spicy foods have something called capsaicin in them. Capsaicin is a molecule, and it is what makes spicy foods taste spicy. 

Capsaicin

Capsaicin causes a burning sensation when it comes in contact with our mouths, especially our tongues. When capsaicin is on your tongue, it will heat your mouth, and your brain’s pain signals will go off. You will feel pain in your mouth and on your tongue due to this irritation, and the pain on your tongue will worsen if you keep eating spicy food, which means more capsaicin. 

With capsaicin, your brain also thinks that your mouth is heating up. You will notice that you get other symptoms when you have a spicy tongue other than just your mouth burning. You might start to breathe through your mouth in an attempt to cool down your mouth. These are your body’s attempts to fight the heat from the spicy tongue. 

Another symptom you may experience is sweating, which is also trying to cool your body down. If your nose starts running, your body is trying to get the capsaicin irritants out of your body. 

If you want to learn more about how capsaicin causes spicy tongue, check out this Youtube video from JumpButton Studio:

How To Get Rid of Spicy Tongue

Even if you have a spicy tongue, you do not need to sit around and wait for it to go away. There are some methods you can use to make the pain subside and make your tongue feel less spicy. There are some foods and liquids you can eat or drink to help the feeling go away, and most of them are items that many people already have in their kitchens. 

Drink Milk

Milk

Milk is one of the best ways to cool down your spicy tongue. A protein in milk called casein fights against the capsaicin that can cause a spicy tongue. As the capsaicin breaks down, it irritates your tongue less, so the burning feeling starts to subside. 

Milk is one of the best ways to cure a spicy tongue since most people have it on hand, and it works fast to break down the capsaicin and make the symptoms of spicy tongue go away.

Drink Acidic Juice

Another thing you can try drinking is acidic juice, such as tomato, lemon, and orange juice. Acidic juices work well to fight a spicy tongue since they can help bring your tongue’s pH back to normal. 

Any acidic food will work, too, so you can eat a tomato or an orange or suck on a slice of lemon or lime. 

Eat a Spoonful of Sugar or Honey

Spoonful of honey

Another option you have to get rid of a spicy tongue is honey and sugar. These are great options if you are at home since most people have at least one in their pantry. 

All you need is a spoonful of one of these. Keep the sugar or honey on your tongue for a few seconds, and it will absorb the capsaicin molecules and keep them from irritating your tongue further. If one spoonful is not enough, try another and give it more time in your mouth to absorb and get rid of the spicy, burning feeling. 

Eat Dairy Products

Dairy products have the same protein that is in milk, so they are also a great option for fighting spicy tongue. The protein will break down the capsaicin, so your mouth does not feel as spicy, and the feeling does not last as long. 

Some good dairy products that will soothe your spicy tongue include a couple of bites of ice cream or a cup of yogurt. If you have other dairy products like cheese on hand, you can use those to help get rid of spicy tongue too.

Do Not Drink Water

Dont drink water

Although you might think drinking water, especially cold water, can help your spicy tongue, it will actually have the opposite effect. 

Water does not fight capsaicin as milk does. It will not dissolve it at all, but instead, it will carry the capsaicin around your mouth. As the water moves the capsaicin around your mouth, it will come in contact with the rest of the skin in your mouth, and it will make the burning sensation worse.

So, even though water may be the most convenient option and maybe your first thought, you should not drink it when you have a spicy tongue. You should keep one of the other drinks or foods on hand just in case. 

Final Thoughts

Thankfully, spicy tongue only lasts around twenty minutes, and there are ways to help soothe the feeling and make it go away faster. You can drink or eat dairy products like milk and ice cream to help break down the capsaicin. Or, try acidic fruit juices or a spoonful of sugar or honey, which will absorb the capsaicin.

Keep some of these items handy when you are eating spicy food, and make sure to avoid water when you have a spicy tongue since it will only spread the capsaicin and the burning sensation in your mouth.

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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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