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Biting your tongue on accident can be uncomfortable, but it’s not uncommon. Most people bite their tongues occasionally. It most frequently occurs while eating or talking, though some people may bite their tongues during sleep.
Most minor tongue bites heal independently within a few days to a week. More severe bites, however, may take longer to heal and require medical attention, including stitches.
Home treatments for a minor to moderate tongue bite include over-the-counter pain relievers, cold compresses, and saltwater rinses.
If you bite your tongue hard enough to bleed, follow these steps immediately:
A bitten tongue generally heals within a week, but you can speed up the healing process with a few home treatments.
You can rinse your mouth with saltwater to soothe discomfort and clean the wound. Saltwater may also make your bite heal faster.4
Simply mix salt with warm water and rinse your mouth like you would with mouthwash. Alternatively, apply it to a cotton ball and swab the area.
Pressing a cold pack to a cut, including one on the tongue, can reduce bleeding and swelling.5 It also numbs the area, which may temporarily relieve pain and discomfort.
To create a cold compress, dampen a towel with cool water and apply it to your tongue injury. You can also wrap an ice pack in a towel or suck on ice cubes.
Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can also help reduce swelling and bleeding when you’ve bitten your tongue.
Take any medications directed to relieve your symptoms while your tongue heals.
Cuts on your tongue and inside of the mouth are sensitive. Avoiding foods that might irritate a tongue bite can help you heal faster.
Try to avoid acidic and spicy foods while your tongue heals. It may also help to stick to soft foods that won’t irritate the cut.
Maintaining good oral hygiene practices will keep your mouth clean and prevent infection. Brush your teeth, floss if you can, and rinse your mouth.
Take care to brush gently during this time to avoid disturbing the cut.
While most tongue injuries heal independently, you should seek medical treatment if:
A more severe tongue bite may require attention from a medical professional, who may use stitches to close the wound or prescribe antibiotics to stop an infection.
A tongue bite requires stitches if:6
If the bite on your tongue is shallow or minor, it probably doesn’t need stitches. However, it might need stitches if it doesn’t heal after a week or so.
Always consult a doctor if you aren’t sure whether your bite needs stitches.
A bitten tongue will usually heal within three or four days or possibly up to a week.
If it takes longer than that or doesn’t seem to be healing, you should contact a doctor. You may need further treatment, such as stitches or antibiotics.
People typically bite their tongues accidentally. It’s a common occurrence in daily life and is not cause for alarm.
There are many different reasons why you might bite your tongue by mistake, including:
Some people bite their tongues during sleep, which has its unique causes. Reasons you might bite your tongue while sleeping include:
Other underlying conditions may also be the culprit for nighttime tongue biting, including epilepsy, Lyme disease, and rhythmic movement disorder.3
Yes, a bitten tongue will typically heal within a few days. If your tongue injury doesn’t heal within a week, causes severe pain, or shows signs of infection, seek immediate medical care for further treatment.
A tongue infection occurs when germs like bacteria, fungi, or viruses grow on your tongue. It can occur after you bite your tongue if the wound is severe. See the doctor if your tongue shows signs of infection, such as pus, or if you develop a fever or chills.
People accidentally bite their tongues for many reasons, including eating, physical activity, sleep issues, and injury.
Yes, you can put ice on your bitten tongue. First, clean the cut and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Then you can use ice to ease pain and decrease swelling.
People accidentally bite their tongues for many reasons, including eating, physical activity, sleep issues, and injury. If you’re repeatedly biting your tongue during sleep, you may want to consult a doctor to uncover any underlying conditions.
Most bitten tongues heal on their own within a few days. You can speed up the healing process with saltwater mouth rinses, over-the-counter pain relievers, cold compresses, and good oral hygiene practices.
You should seek immediate medical attention if your cut is severe, the pain is intense and won’t go away, or your wound doesn’t heal within a week.
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