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

Updated on May 29, 2017
livelonger profile image

Hi, I'm Jason. I've lived around the world and am currently in Northern California. I'm an optimist that loves experiencing new things.

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
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

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

Sources Used

  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.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Rhonda Mason 3 weeks ago

      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."

    • profile image

      Keval 8 weeks ago

      Wont it hurt with salt water

    • profile image

      Hannah 2 months ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Caylah arnold 2 months ago

      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

    • livelonger profile image
      Author

      Jason Menayan 2 months ago from San Francisco

      See a doctor immediately.

    • livelonger profile image
      Author

      Jason Menayan 2 months ago from San Francisco

      See a doctor immediately.

    • livelonger profile image
      Author

      Jason Menayan 2 months ago from San Francisco

      See a doctor.

    • profile image

      Shay 2 months ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Alka 2 months ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Rahamin 2 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      Nyah Treweeks 2 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      Prudence 4 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      duhitzdanika 5 months ago

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

    • profile image

      carmen 10 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      Lalalala 12 months ago

      Thanks!

    • profile image

      sofia 12 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      Cass 13 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Donna Mac 16 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Kay 17 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Caboosemccoy 24 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      Lin 2 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Svetlana Sonday 2 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Lola 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      robert 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      GSW30 fan 2 years ago

      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!!

      (GO WARRIORS!!!!)

    • profile image

      Bob 3 years ago

      Idk if this works

    • profile image

      Nana Mary 3 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Ronald 3 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Alisha 3 years ago

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

    • profile image

      brook 3 years ago

      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!!! :)

    • profile image

      Person 4 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Steve 5 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Babagana sheriff 5 years ago

      Thanks for this advice

    • profile image

      Person 5 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Kevin E 6 years ago

      Is smoking harmful?

    • profile image

      Nancy 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      CollB 6 years ago

      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 profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

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

    • livelonger profile image
      Author

      Jason Menayan 6 years ago from San Francisco

      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 profile image

      s.carver 6 years ago from San Francisco

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

    • jcales profile image

      jcales 6 years ago

      Avoiding those foods surely helps reduce the annoyance.

      thanks for sharing

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

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

    • kimballtrombone profile image

      kimballtrombone 6 years ago

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