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What To Do When Pineapple Burns Your Tongue: Here Are The Remedies

Medically Approved by Dr. Edward Salko

Table of Contents

Amazing mulatto woman with colorful makeup looking upward and licking her lips while holding two parts of ripe appetizing pineapple isolated, over yellow

Sweet, juicy, delicious, but sometimes prickly on the tongue – that’s the pineapple! A common ingredient in tropical-themed recipes, the pineapple can be a complete delight if not for its ability to burn your mouth. While not everyone may experience such adverse effects, it is imperative to seek immediate relief.   

Why Does Pineapple Burn The Mouth?

Pineapples contain bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme that breaks down proteins. Hence, when you eat fresh pineapple, the bromelain disintegrates the protein in the tongue, lips, and mouth, causing a burning or tingling sensation(1). This effect also gives way to mild inflammation.

If a pineapple burns your mouth or even your tongue, do the following to achieve relief. 

Rinse With Saltwater

Add one teaspoon of salt in a glass of water. Rinse the solution to soothe the pineapple burn on your tongue for about 30 seconds. Do it repeatedly until the prickling sensation is gone. You can also rub some salt in the localized area where the tingling is more apparent. 

Saltwater neutralizes bromelain activity(2). On top of that, it also contains antiseptic properties that reduce inflammation.  

Sip Cold Water

Drinking cold water and letting it sit for a short time in the affected area of your mouth can help reduce the burning sensation caused by the pineapple enzyme. 

The low temperature creates a numbing effect on the tissue. Plus, water itself stimulates the production of saliva(3), which washes away the bromelain, helping neutralize its impact. 

You can also consider sucking on popsicles or eating chilled fruits with high water content, like watermelon and cucumbers. 

woman drinking cold water outside

Drink Milk

If saltwater or cold water isn’t available, milk is the next best liquid alternative. While not as effective in neutralizing bromelain as the first two remedies, milk provides temporary relief as it coats the tongue, protecting it against the enzyme. It’s even better when it’s cold.

Depending on availability, you can also choose other dairy products, like yogurt and ice cream. 

Hand holding milk bottle still life

Eat Something Bland

Grab some crackers, rice, bread, or any food with a neutral taste to dilute the impact of bromelain or absorb the juices from the pineapple. Avoid acidic foods, as they may aggravate the inflammation. 

Fun Fact: Bromelain has earned its reputation as a meat tenderizer in the culinary industry. Bromelain powder is extracted from pineapples and is used to cook tough meat. 

When To See a Doctor

The mild burning pain from eating pineapple is temporary and should be gone when the bromelain activity is intercepted. If the prickling sensation worsens even after applying the remedies mentioned above and other adverse effects emerge, consider going to the emergency room.

Pineapple allergy can sometimes be mistaken for a superficial burn from bromelain. Pineapple allergy symptoms should be observed if the burning sensation intensifies. These symptoms include the following:

  • Itching, swelling, and pain in the mouth and throat
  • Hives (usually around the mouth)
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea 
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Wheezing
  • Nasal congestion

Although rare, an allergy to pineapples can have life-threatening consequences if not treated on time. Learn more about how allergies develop and remedies to consider alongside your doctor’s prescription. 

How to Prevent Pineapple from Burning Your Mouth

You can enjoy eating a pineapple without the mouth-tingling effect by preparing the fruit thoroughly before consumption. Consider the following methods when serving pineapples.

  • Soak the pineapple in saltwater: For 30 minutes, place the fresh pineapple chunks or slices in a bowl with saltwater solution. As established above, salt can dilute bromelain, making it less likely to break down your oral tissues.
  • Remove the core: The pineapple stem has the most concentrated bromelain(4). In its fruit, the core is directly connected to the stem, making it saturated by bromelain compared to the other parts. When slicing a fresh pineapple, leave the core out.
  • Cook the pineapple: Boiling the pineapple can significantly reduce its enzymatic activity. You can also grill or roast the fruit for an added smoky flavor. 
  • Use canned pineapples: Processed pineapples have undergone heating, which deactivates bromelain. Hence, they’re safer to eat than their fresh counterparts as far as preventing the burning sensation goes. 

If you’re not allergic to pineapples, you can still enjoy a piece or two without needing relief after. Aside from its remarkable taste, pineapples also contain high concentrations of vitamin C, which greatly helps with immunity and other essential physiological processes. Find out what other fruits are rich in vitamin C to see your choices. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can your tongue bleed from eating pineapple?

Eating pineapple does not commonly cause bleeding in the tongue or mouth. Although bromelain causes a burning sensation, it’s not capable of causing damage to the degree of laceration. However, you may taste blood or notice bleeding when eating a pineapple if you already have a cut on your tongue. The pineapple enzyme could aggravate the sore or open wound.

How long will my tongue burn after eating pineapple?

You may experience tongue burns after eating a pineapple for a few minutes. Some cases note that the effect can last for two hours at most. However, factors such as the amount of pineapple eaten, your sensitivity to bromelain, and food preparation influence the duration of the burning sensation.

Does toothpaste help with pineapple burns?

No, toothpaste is not generally recommended for pineapple burns despite its cooling effect. The ingredients for toothpaste can further exacerbate the burns and cause additional irritation. Plus, toothpastes are not designed to counteract bromelain activity, deeming them ineffective in soothing mouth burns.  

The Bottom Line

Pineapples are delectable treats for many. If you are prone to the mouth-tingling sensation after biting in on its flesh, it could dampen the experience. Still, you can achieve relief by gargling salt water, drinking something cold, or consuming other foods to counteract the bromelain effect. More importantly, however, check in on how the pineapple is prepared. But if the pain goes beyond a tingling sensation and other discomforts emerge, consult your doctor and be on the lookout for pineapple allergy symptoms.  


1 Santonocito S, Donzella M, Venezia P, Nicolosi G, Mauceri R, Isola G. Orofacial Pain Management: An Overview of the Potential Benefits of Palmitoylethanolamide and Other Natural Agents. Pharmaceutics. 2023 Apr 9;15(4):1193. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics15041193. PMID: 37111679; PMCID: PMC10142272.

2 Vilanova-Neta J, Menezes D, Barreto M, Souza J, Carvalho-Neto A, Lédo A, Ruzene D, Silva D. Effect of salt stress on the activity of bromelain in pineapple plants grown In vitro. BMC Proc. 2014 Oct 1;8(Suppl 4):P199. doi: 10.1186/1753-6561-8-S4-P199. PMCID: PMC4210807.

3 Ship JA, Fischer DJ. The relationship between dehydration and parotid salivary gland function in young and older healthy adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1997 Sep;52(5):M310-9. doi: 10.1093/gerona/52a.5.m310. PMID: 9310086.

4 Varilla C, Marcone M, Paiva L, Baptista J. Bromelain, a Group of Pineapple Proteolytic Complex Enzymes (Ananas comosus) and Their Possible Therapeutic and Clinical Effects. A Summary. Foods. 2021 Sep 23;10(10):2249. doi: 10.3390/foods10102249. PMID: 34681298; PMCID: PMC8534447.

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