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

Updated on May 12, 2015

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.

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    • 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!

    • 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!

    • jcales profile image

      jcales 6 years ago

      Avoiding those foods surely helps reduce the annoyance.

      thanks for sharing

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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!

    • Nancy 5 years ago

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

    • Kevin E 5 years ago

      Is smoking harmful?

    • Person 4 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

    • Babagana sheriff 4 years ago

      Thanks for this advice

    • Steve 4 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.

    • Person 3 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

    • 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!!! :)

    • Alisha 3 years ago

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

    • Ronald 2 years ago

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

    • Nana Mary 2 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.

    • Bob 2 years ago

      Idk if this works

    • 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!!!!)

    • robert 20 months ago

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

    • Lola 20 months ago

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

    • Svetlana Sonday 17 months 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!

    • Lin 17 months 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.

    • Caboosemccoy 15 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

    • Kay 8 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.

    • Donna Mac 7 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.

    • Cass 4 months ago

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

    • sofia 3 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

    • Lalalala 3 months ago

      Thanks!

    • carmen 5 weeks 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

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