How to Treat and Heal a Bitten Tongue, Lip, or Cheek
Everyone has accidentally bitten their own tongue, lip, or inner cheek. The results can be painful!
While the mouth tends to heal quickly if wounds are kept clean and not aggravated, healing times depend. A small bite wound can heal within 2-3 days; a larger one in about a week.CoastDental
Here are some simple and effective ways to treat a self-inflicted bite, and get your mouth on the road to a quick recovery.
How to Help Heal a Bite on the Inside of Your Mouth
Here's What to Do
1. Clean the bite
2. Press with cloth or gauze to stop the bleeding
3. Apply something cold to reduce swelling
4. Take a pain reliever like ibuprofen
5. Rinse with warm salt water
6. Avoid hot, acidic, or spicy food and drinks
7. Let it heal
1. Clean the Bite
If you have been eating or drinking, wash out your mouth with clean water or a saltwater solution. Make sure the wound is clean and free of any debris. Until the wound heals completely, you may want to rinse your mouth after every meal.
2. Stop the Bleeding
If you detect any blood, apply pressure at the wound site. If the wound is inside your mouth, use gauze or press your tongue against the wound. If you bit the tip of your tongue, press it to the roof of your mouth. If the wound is very large or deep, or you can't control the bleeding, seek medical attention immediately.
3. Reduce Swelling
The spot you bit is likely to swell, which will make it easy to bite again. Apply something cold—ice wrapped in a cloth is best—to the wound site. Hold the ice in place for a minute, but not so long as to make the wound hurt more or feel numb. Intermittent application of a cool-to-cold pack or cloth should bring down the swelling.
4. Take a Pain Reliever
If the pain is hard to ignore, take an over-the-counter pain reliever. If analgesics do not bother you, use aspirin or ibuprofen.
5. Rinse With Warm Salt Water
Dissolve a tablespoon of table salt in a cup of warm—not hot—water and swish it around your mouth. This should help reduce the pain and keep the wound clean while it's healing. Repeat in a couple of hours.
6. Avoid Hot, Acidic, Salty, or Spicy Foods
Hot beverages and acidic or spicy foods will interrupt or even reverse the healing process.
7. Let It Heal
Give it time. Treat the wound site with tender loving care. Chew on the other side when eating. Try to not poke around the area with your tongue, as tempting as that may seem. Soon enough you'll be feeling better.
When to Consult a Doctor or Dentist
Consult a doctor or dentist if . . .
- The pain doesn't subside within 24 hours
- You notice any strange odors coming from the wound
- You develop a fever
- The bite resists healing or continues to feel warm from the inflammation more than 48 hours later
- Gaddis, Beth. Medically reviewed by Jeffrey May, DMD. "Bit Lip? Split Lip? How to Treat Mouth Injuries in Children." (n.d.) CoastDental and Orthodontics Blog. Accessed May 25, 2017.
- "Mouth and Dental Injuries — Home Treatment." (n.d.) WebMD. Accessed May 25, 2017.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.