Ouch! Biting your tongue can be a painful and uncomfortable experience. It is difficult to avoid tongue biting since it is an impact-related accident. But there is no need for you to worry because injuries like these happen all the time and are usually easy to treat!
Your tongue is a sensitive muscle filled with blood so it normal for its injury to look and feel awful. Despite looking bad at first glance, such injuries are usually minor and you can take care of them yourself. Thanks to the same blood flow that causes your tongue to bleed heavily, it will quickly regenerate, too!
The sudden nature of tongue-biting incident may be a frustrating issue. Mouth injuries can affect your daily activities like eating or talking. It would be beneficial to know how to heal a bitten tongue faster.
How Does a Bitten Tongue Happen
It is common for children to accidentally bite their tongue because of their high physical activity and recklessness. This causes a lot of accidental impacts that may cause their teeth to pierce the tongue. With adults, it is less common but it happens from time to time. This may happen:
- When chewing
- In the middle of physical activity like sports or exercise
- In a traffic accident or other head-impact trauma
- Due to anxiety attack or heavy stress
- Due to dental anesthesia
- In your sleep
The injury may vary. Usually, it is self-treatable and the tissue will regenerate itself, but there are instances in which you would have to look for a doctor.
Treating a Minor Injury
Lacerations are Injuries that pierce your skin and tissue. You will need to make sure that your injury is light before you proceed with the treatment. Even minor lacerations sometimes bleed a lot because of your tongue’s constant blood supply. Most of the bleeding stops quickly after the impact.
- Wash your hands with soap and put on some latex gloves before proceeding.
- Rinse the wound carefully with clean water so you are able to inspect it.
- Apply pressure on the injured area with a piece of gauze for 5 to 10 minutes.
- The bleeding should stop shortly after.
- Wrap some ice or a frozen ice pack in a piece of cloth and apply to the wound for about 15 minutes.
- Never put ice directly to the laceration or risk further damaging the tissue.
These steps should stop the bleeding and calm the injury.
How to Heal a Bitten Tongue Faster
If you ask any medical expert how to heal a bitten tongue faster, they will tell you to treat your recovering wound with great care. If you don’t pay attention to it, chances are that the injury will not heal smoothly. Make sure to prevent any complications by following some of these instructions:
- Avoid eating spicy and hot food. Most of the spices will slow down the healing.
- Try to avoid smoking cigarettes or using any other tobacco products (including chewing tobacco)
- Make a salt solution by adding one teaspoon of salt to a small cup of water. Hold it in the mouth for about fifteen seconds. You should do this after every meal to clean the area of bacteria and food particles.
- Ice cream, popsicles, and other frozen treats or drinks can help cool off the swelling.
- When able, continue to apply pressure with ice packs to ease the pain.
- If the pain prevents you from performing your usual activities, you may use OTC painkillers like ibuprofen.
- Mix a half glass of hydrogen peroxide and water and use it to cleanse your laceration of all harmful particles and enhance the healing process. Do not swallow this mixture.
- Take care of your dental hygiene as well as you can. Brush your teeth regularly.
- Swishing antiseptic mouthwash like Listerine can help the wound regenerate.
- Eat easy and soft food. You wouldn’t want to risk another injury while chewing something that is tough or hard.
By following this advice, your injury will likely heal much faster than just by letting your blood cells do all the work. If you work on the recovery you will notice visible progress.
When Should You Visit The Doctor?
While most tongue-biting injuries are easy to treat and last up to seven days, there are situations where it may get complicated. Sometimes the cut is so deep that it may require stitches, and other times it may catch some kind of infection. You will need more time and patience if your wounds are more serious.
You should see your doctor if:
- The bleeding doesn’t stop thirty minutes after the injury
- There is any visible deformity of the tongue
- The pain doesn’t stop (or worsens) after taking medication
- You get a fever
- The wound becomes red over time instead of light pink or white
- You notice pus or intense swelling
There is no need to worry even if your injury is more complex. Your tongue will recover as long as you follow your doctor’s instructions, even if it takes more patience and stronger medications. You will be happier if you let your laceration completely heal. More complicated injuries may require 3 to 4 weeks to heal completely.
A bitten tongue is an unfortunate injury that may happen to anyone regardless of age. While it may seem serious, it is easy to treat most of the time. Your tongue heals easily thanks to the highly regenerative tissue.
Once you treat the immediate injury, you only have to take care of the wound by rinsing your mouth with salt water, applying ice packs to ease the pain and be careful when chewing. You should try to avoid hot and spicy food, and keep your dental hygiene at a high level. All of this will help your wound to heal as fast as possible.
If you notice any complications, don’t hesitate to look for medical help. The doctor can make sure that there are no complications and the recovery goes according to plan. Do your best to speed up the regeneration process, but try to be patient as well. After all, our body has the final say.