Skip to main content

How to Treat and Heal a Bitten Tongue, Lip, or Cheek

Hi, I'm Jason. I'm a software engineer living in San Francisco, and I love doing extensive research before making major purchases.

Biting your tongue feels awful.

Biting your tongue feels awful.

We've All Bitten Our Tongue

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.

Here are some simple and effective ways to treat a self-inflicted bite, and get your mouth on the road to a quick recovery.

Healing a Bite on the Inside of Your Mouth

Sources used for steps: WebMD: Mouth and Dental Injuries Home Treatment and the article Bit Lip? Split Lip? How to Treat Mouth Injuries in Children by Jeffrey May, DDS

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

Rinse your mouth out.

Rinse your mouth out.

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

Apply pressure to stop the bleeding.

Apply pressure to 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

Ice can help with swelling.

Ice can help with 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

Pain relievers are game-changing!

Pain relievers are game-changing!

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

Warm salt water kills bacteria

Warm salt water kills bacteria

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

Avoid certain foods.

Avoid certain 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


  1. 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.
  2. "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.


Calvin S. on November 18, 2019:

I bite my lip everytime i have a seizure.. i figured the best thing that works is no stress and go on long walks to places you havent been.

annonymous on October 31, 2019:

I always bite my cheek from the inside obviously. I put vasline but as its inn the mouth it washes away. I try to stop it but it doesn't work

Nicole on June 24, 2018:

I got my tooth pulled on Thursday...i bit my lip i guess it was so numb that ididnt feel myself butting down om it when i was holsing the gauze to stop the bleeding well after the numbness went away istarted to feel a little pain but not so bad on friday when iwoke up my lip was swollen n i have like a cut on my lip from my tooth the worst part is one of my tooth is rubbing against my lip i put ice but it swells back up in the next hour or two.... i be rinsing my mouth with salt water of course because i got my tooth pulled so ive been follwing al the directions i jus want to kno when will it heal and do u have any other solutions

A name on March 21, 2018:

I have a sore near my cheek and I keep biting it. Its quiet sore so i really need to treat it

jack on March 13, 2018:

i bit my lip

Nokitome on March 06, 2018:

I bit myself under my lip and every time i talk my teeth hurt it, when i try to eat it hurts idk how i can calm it down enough. I try my best not to touch it but my teeth object and do it themselves when i chew or talk, its becoming painfully annoying! help!

lil on January 07, 2018:

how to get rid of a gum abscess?

jobby on October 24, 2017:

My bad tongue bite. Bit the side of my tongue with molars. Major crush, major pain:

Chew a couple of whole cloves - don't swallow, and swish it around your mouth to help with the pain. Rinse with sea-salt water, peroxide, and mouthwash various times throughout the day. Baking soda also. Wear a 'night guard' or sports mouth guard to bed.

Rhonda Mason on September 26, 2017:

WebMD says to use 1 tsp not 1 tbsp. of salt per 1 cup of water. "To make a saltwater solution for rinsing the mouth, mix 1 tsp (5 g) of salt to 1 cup (250 mL) of warm water."

Keval on August 23, 2017:

Wont it hurt with salt water

Hannah on August 14, 2017:

Yo I had a piece of gum in my mouth at work and I bit my cheek super hard and for the past like 3 days it's been killer. Like the part I bit is protruding at a bit of it is like over my yet to come in wisdom tooth and idk it's really annoying. Like the whole bottom of my jaw is tender and my whole cheek area is maybe a bit swollen, idk I can't really tell. Idk what to do I have really bad anxiety so I'm scared to go to the doctor about it. It's been like 3 days now and of still hurts to eat and talk and shit. I have been doing salt water stuff but like I don't think it's helping much. How long is this gonna take to heal?

Caylah arnold on August 11, 2017:

I bite my tongue and it really hurt and it lasted for like 2-4 days I put ice on it and I put salt water in my mouth it still hurt their is a little bit of swelling and their is a little whole plz help like know it hurts

Jason Menayan (author) from San Francisco on July 29, 2017:

See a doctor immediately.

Jason Menayan (author) from San Francisco on July 29, 2017:

See a doctor immediately.

Jason Menayan (author) from San Francisco on July 29, 2017:

See a doctor.

Shay on July 28, 2017:

Hi, I was eating and I bit my tongue and I felt pain and and it was bleeding so the internet sai since I bit the tip hold it up to the roof of my mouth and the bleeding stop but still soar I bit a whole in it how can this happen?

Alka on July 28, 2017:

I am on strong blood thinner, bit my cheek while eating,now there a two cuts ,now they have be come a wound and got swelling, what to do now?

Rahamin on July 27, 2017:

I was nibbling on my lip and ended up biting it, it started swelling and hurt a lot. I ducked on my lip as it hurt a lot and now it is very badly swelled up. I need help like right now

Nyah Treweeks on July 27, 2017:

I have bitten my inner lip and it has gotten infected and it's has inflated my lip on one side I have tried that washing I it out and Ive applied something cold on it every day for about the last 4 days and it's has gotten worse I really need it gone within 48 hours what it the faster solution for this please

Prudence on June 09, 2017:

Hi I was mugged last Friday night and the guy bite me on my upper lip on the mouth right under my nose, I went to the clinic they injected me and gave me pills with ointment but I see no difference, instead it is like my wound is getting deeper, please help

duhitzdanika on May 19, 2017:

i am prone to getting these! The ice helps and salt water! Thank you

carmen on December 14, 2016:

i came from the denist numb bit my cheek really large wound i will try this stuff when i get home but i want it to go away alot faster

Lalalala on October 21, 2016:


sofia on October 07, 2016:

I bit my lower lip inside and it became a wound.It is not paining and not swelling.But Just It formed as wound and disturbing me while i am talking and looking bad.Please suggest medicine for this.thaniking u in advance

Cass on September 13, 2016:

I bit my lip like really bad and it was finally going away but I slept weird so it started bleeding

Donna Mac on June 25, 2016:

The salt water didn't work for me. I tried peroxide and so far has reduced the pain and the infection. I bit my bottom lip after dentist work.

Kay on May 12, 2016:

This wasn't mentioned but when I bite my lip or cheeks I put an unused tea bag that is barely wet on it. Works like magic.

Caboosemccoy on October 28, 2015:

Doesn't work I bit my lip about a week ago treys salt water peroxide oragel everything and still hurts and can't even eat cold foods without it burning

Lin on August 10, 2015:

After wound is clean, dab stomach antacid (like Maalox etc) onto the wound, it reduces the pain & provides a slight protection for a while. I do this as well as apply ice & it always heals very quickly.

Svetlana Sonday on August 06, 2015:

I woke up today and the left side of my mouth hurt. It still does a bit. It does hurt to eat on this side. I may try to rinse it with warm water later after my supper time, when I do my teeth. Hopefully, it resolves in a while. I will just give it time. In the meantime, I will try to distract myself from it. This is easy! That is all!

Lola on May 26, 2015:

Thanks for sharing This idea the salt water really helped my bite

robert on May 21, 2015:

Salt and water really helps with the pain on your tongue after bitting it on the tip thanks for the sugestions!!

GSW30 fan on October 30, 2014:

Thanks so much and the whole saltwater thing really improved my healing process. This website is great and i have refered it to a lt of my friends!! Thanks again!!


Bob on April 22, 2014:

Idk if this works

Nana Mary on April 09, 2014:

I bit my inner cheek and after rinsing my mouth, used calendula ointment and it stopped the pain immediately. Also used homeopathic Mercurius Viv. Swelling went down in half a day. Healing took a couple of days.

Didn't think of salt water, but will add that next time.

Ronald on April 07, 2014:

Use saltwater or mouthwash. Keep it clean and it will heal faster.

Alisha on January 07, 2014:

I've bitten my lip but I'm embarrassed to go to school plz help me

brook on October 23, 2013:

I was biting my lip and it started to bleed and I I cleaned it with peroxide and put ice on it and now it's all better!!! :)

Person on May 28, 2013:

Thanks so much I'm gonna try it right now I got my mouth numbed at the dentist and I was chewing on my lip now it all swollen I know the salt water one works

Steve on May 31, 2012:

Thanks, I REALLY like the salt water idea. I bite my lip so much, I usualy have 2 swollen spots, and they occasionally get infected! This can really help stop this.

Babagana sheriff on May 20, 2012:

Thanks for this advice

Person on March 21, 2012:

Thanks! This happens to me a lot because i play clarinet so my che ecks and tounge get these sorta thingys! The salt water trick would help a lot

Kevin E on September 26, 2011:

Is smoking harmful?

Nancy on September 07, 2011:

Av bitten my lip n its too painful. Av used salt water but after sometime its painful.

CollB on December 31, 2010:

I've bitten my tongue a few times too many. I use salt water to gargle when brushing my teeth - useful tips though, thanks!

toknowinfo on November 22, 2010:

Useful and practical hub for this annoying aspect of being human. Rated up and useful. Thanks for sharing.

Jason Menayan (author) from San Francisco on November 19, 2010:

That's probably true - anything that cleans out a wound and gets rid of the germs probably helps the body focus on healing the damage.

s.carver from San Francisco on November 19, 2010:

I hate it when that happens! I am convinced using Listerine helps the healing, but it sure stings, too.

jcales on October 26, 2010:

Avoiding those foods surely helps reduce the annoyance.

thanks for sharing

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on October 25, 2010:

Good suggestions indeed! I especially like the saltwater tip- I hadn't thought of that before, and I bet it really helps!

kimballtrombone on October 25, 2010:

Good suggestions. As a professional brass player, this kind of thing can end up being a real nuisance!