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. Here are some simple and effective ways to treat a self-inflicted bite, and get your mouth on the road to a quick recovery.
Did You Bite the Inside of Your Mouth?
Here's What to Do
1. Clean the bite
2. Press with cloth or gauze
3. Apply something cold
4. Take an ibuprofen!
5. Rinse with warm salt water
6. Avoid hot 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. Make sure the wound is clean and free of any debris.
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 Foods
Hot beverages and acidic or spicy foods will interrupt or even reverse the healing process.
When to Consult a Doctor or Dentist
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. Consult a doctor or dentists 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.