Q. I have been making jewelry as a hobby for 15 years and was told by an old jeweler to use toothpaste on burns. Using a torch and working with hot metal make burns a regular, if not frequent, occurrence.

I put Crest toothpaste on burns and small blisters and they disappear shortly after applying it. My family doctor said it made sense to her because of some of the ingredients. I have told many other jewelers who have found the suggestion worked for them as well.

A. We’re glad your doctor thinks that toothpaste makes sense because of its ingredients. We don’t have any idea why it works, but many remedies that people use for minor burns are equally mysterious. Those include soy sauce, cold yellow mustard and vanilla extract.

When we searched the medical literature, toothpaste for burns was mentioned only as an inappropriate home treatment (Journal of Emergency Nursing, March, 2010).

The recommended first aid for a burn is immediate application of cold water. Serious burns require medical attention.

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  1. Aidan
    Dublin, Ireland

    I upended a cottage pie straight from the electric cooker last evening. Of course one should not try to “save” it, but a natural reaction was to catch it before it hit the floor, and catch it I did ! Not a good idea, but we all know that anyway. So, held under the cold tap of running water immediately for minutes. Then I smeared white toothpastes over my whole hand and covered it with a vinyl glove. Continually dipping my gloved hand in a basin of cold water for a couple of hours while watching TV. This morning I removed the glove and only two blisters the size of a pea on the top of my middle and ring fingers remained. I think that not enough toothpaste was in the fingers of the glove. But there’s no pain at all, so I think toothpaste was worth the experiment.

  2. Karen

    Toothpaste is effective for minor burns but you should always run the burn under cold water first. Cold water is first aid, toothpaste is second aid.

  3. Prax

    for blistering burns i find
    1. holding area under running cold water great
    2. if u don’t have running water dip the area in water and hold in front of a table fan for the evaporation cooling effect
    3. u can use turmeric sandlewood paste like vicco turmeric to heal burns very effectively or use kailas jeevan for minor burns.

  4. Jessica
    United States

    I scalded a few of my fingers trying to take hot tea out of the microwave. I quickly ran my hand under cool water and then proceeded to try different remedies like sugar, mustard, vinegar and soy sauce and took an ibuprofen, but none of them worked. I was still in pain. In a desperate act for relief I finally applied toothpaste. It works. The pain was quickly dulled to a tolerable throb and continues to recede.

  5. zaheer

    Some said, use toothpaste, while, other said do not use toothpaste….. Where the public like me, will have to follow?????
    But I think, using toothpaste leave darkness on skin…….
    Feel free to contact with me.
    Dr. Zaheer, Lahore

    • Sylvia

      I burned my face with boiling hot water from a pressure cooker when I was 12 yrs old, i applied tooth paste on as an older woman pharmacist suggested because my mother was not home yet I was in horrible pain, I never even got a boil no scar what so ever, recently i spilled a hot roast from the oven with boiling hot grease, I applied the tooth paste and ran to the emergency room the attending doctor had me come back in 3 days , he was shocked to see I had no scar absolutely nothing … I really think it’s a shame how some Doctors say never use toothpaste meanwhile babys are scarred for life and suffering, I saw a little infant like this and it was horrible then had to have skin grafts…I’ll stick with the toothpaste which has proven to work for myself and my children..

      • The People's Pharmacy

        We have heard this from others but have not confirmed it. Serious burns call for medical attention. For a minor burn, soy sauce or yellow mustard–or your toothpaste–could be helpful after cold water.

  6. misty

    I always used toothpaste before when I was still in the Philippines for minor cooking closed burns and it gives quick relief and never got blisters. but when I came here to England and was told in A and E not to put toothpaste and just run those burns under cold tap, I always had blisters and takes time to heal.
    I tried to do it a few times but I always had blisters maybe because of the water that got inside the skin pores. Then after, I went back to toothpaste as a first aid. Toothpaste has a cooling ingredients that eases minor burns. But take note, use it only on minor CLOSED burns. Not on open wounds.

  7. Gabrielle E.

    The toothpaste works. Faster and more efficient then tap water. Sometimes tap water doesn’t get cold enough to exfoliate the burn.

    • Sheri
      North Carolina

      I totally agree! I pulled a hot long handled pot out of the oven , had super wet hands and forgot in a hurry and grabbed the handle! OUCH!!!!!

      It seemed like forever for me to let the handle go! I could hear my hand sizzling on the pot! OUCH!!!!! I had no silverdine so I put it under cold running water and then my husband said let me put some mint tooth paste on it (I thought he was nuts!!!

      For minor burns this is a wonder drug!!! I was actually able to settle down and sleep all night! I know this is useless for more serious burns but was great for minor!

  8. kumar

    Please do not use toothpaste for minor burns. Also do not put ice on burns. Also do not put ghee. Best first aid is to open water tap and let flow water on the burns. wash properly and consult doctor.

  9. Char B

    Burns and/or blisters, I have found from my own experience and the experience of friends, that the use of Desitin Diaper Rash Ointment will heal the blister overnight (if used right away). On burns, it takes away the blistering and heals very quickly, with little to no scarring.

  10. Judith B.

    I have used toothpaste for “cooking” burns for several years. It has always prevented blistering and the red soon goes away. If it were a serious burn I would seek medical help but for the minor kitchen burns it works for me.

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