Updated on March 6, 2024
5 min read

What Are the Best Methods to Stop a Tongue from Bleeding?

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How Do You Stop a Tongue from Bleeding?

If your tongue is bleeding, you should address it immediately. You may be able to easily stop the bleeding at home by doing the following:

  1. Make sure your hands are clean — Thoroughly wash your hands before putting anything in your mouth, especially when you have a bleeding wound.
  2. Get a clean piece of cloth or gauze — This will be your compress to staunch the bleeding. You can also wrap the cloth or gauze around a piece of ice to help ease the pain.
  3. Apply gentle pressure — Hold the cloth or gauze to the bleeding area of your tongue, but don’t push too hard. Hold the compress in place as long as needed to stop the bleeding. 
  4. Try using a black tea bag — If the bleeding isn’t stopping, apply a moist black tea bag to the area. These contain tannic acid, which can help stop the bleeding. 

Once the bleeding has stopped, you can rinse your mouth with mouthwash or warm saltwater. You can continue to do this throughout the day to help reduce pain and keep the area clean.

What Causes Tongue Bleeding?

Various types of tongue injuries can cause it to bleed. For example, your tongue may bleed after you accidentally bite down on it or cut it with a sharp utensil or piece of food. In these cases, the bleeding tends to be minor and short-lasting.

Mandibular human tongue and teeth. Medically accurate 3d illustration

Less commonly, your tongue may bleed due to a mouth ulcer, oral infection, or other medical condition. Tongue piercings, broken teeth, and radiation therapy for cancer can also cause tongue bleeding.

How to Treat a Bleeding Tongue

Possible treatments for a bleeding tongue include a variety of home remedies, first aid treatments, and professional treatment from a doctor.

If your tongue is bleeding due to a minor cut or bite, stopping the bleeding and keeping the area clean may be all you need to do. However, we’ll also discuss additional home remedies and when to see a doctor for a bleeding tongue.

Home Remedies 

To relieve pain from a minor tongue bleed at home, you can try the following:

  • Sucking on a popsicle or piece of ice or applying a cold compress to the area for a few minutes at a time
  • Eating soft, cold foods like yogurt, ice cream, and milkshakes can also help alleviate tongue pain (yogurt can also contain beneficial bacteria)
  • Gargling with a salt water rinse a few times a day (one teaspoon of salt to one cup of water) or diluted hydrogen peroxide
  • Avoiding certain foods and drinks that are hot, spicy, or acidic

When to Seek Medical Treatment 

Seek medical attention immediately if the bleeding is heavy or persistent. A tongue injury can be especially dangerous if you have hemophilia or are on blood-thinning medications.

You should also see a doctor if you have other severe symptoms. These include trouble breathing, staying upright, or severe pain that spreads beyond your tongue.

Another reason to get treatment from a doctor is if your tongue bleeding doesn’t have an obvious cause. If you didn’t bite or cut your tongue, the bleeding could be caused by:

People with these conditions will benefit from immediate professional evaluation and treatment.

Is Tongue Bleeding Serious?

Tongue bleeding can be serious, but it depends. A small amount of bleeding from a cut or scrape can easily be treated at home and shouldn’t cause worry.

On the other hand, you should be concerned about severe bleeding that doesn’t seem to stop or bleeding that recurs frequently. Difficulty breathing or standing up also indicates that you need medical attention.

Common Questions about Bleeding Tongues 

How long does it take for a bleeding tongue to heal?

This depends on how severe the cause of the bleeding is. Minor cuts or bites usually take just a few days to heal. But if you had stitches placed or part of your tongue had to be reattached, expect a recovery period of weeks to months.

Fortunately, mouth injuries typically heal faster and cause less scarring than wounds on your skin. This is because the mouth is a highly vascularized part of your body. 

What is the most common reason for tongue bleeding?

Tongue bleeding is most often caused by biting. You can easily bite your tongue while chewing food or gum. Car accidents, falls, fights, sports injuries, and seizures can also cause your tongue to be accidentally bitten.

Most tongue bites aren’t serious, but in some cases, they can require stitches or surgical reattachment.

Is tongue damage permanent?

Not necessarily. Minor tongue injuries can be expected to heal within a few days. However, lingual nerve damage may require surgery, affecting your ability to taste or feel your tongue.

Can a cut tongue regenerate?

Unfortunately, no. While your tongue can heal quickly compared to other parts of your body, it won’t regenerate lost tissue.

However, tissue regeneration using stem cells may be a possible treatment for tongue injuries in the future.2

Summary

An accidental bite or cut usually causes tongue bleeding. You might be able to stop tongue bleeding by applying pressure with a clean compress. Once the bleeding stops, keep the area clean and avoid irritating it.

However, severe or persistent tongue bleeding requires medical attention. If you have heavy tongue bleeding or other severe symptoms, get help immediately.

Sometimes a bleeding tongue can result from an underlying condition, such as an ulcer, an infection, or a hemangioma (benign blood vessel tumor). These may not be emergencies, but you should see a doctor for proper evaluation and treatment as soon as possible.

Last updated on March 6, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on March 6, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Kageyama, Yuki, et al. “Life-Threatening Tongue and Retropharyngeal Hemorrhage in a Patient with Hemophilia A with Inhibitors.” American Journal of Case Reports, 2019.
  2. MacDonald, Amber F., et al. “Muscle Regeneration of the Tongue: A Review of Current Clinical and Regenerative Research Strategies.” Tissue Engineering Part B: Reviews, 2022.
  3. Bhatia, Sarabjot Kaur, et al. “Habitual biting of oral mucosa: A conservative treatment approach.” Contemporary Clinical Dentistry, 2013.
  4. Nakanishi, Takashi, et al. “Effect of duration from lingual nerve injury to undergoing microneurosurgery on improving sensory and taste functions: retrospective study.” Maxillofacial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 2019.
  5. Hernández-Méndez, José Roberto, et al. “Traumatic partial amputation of the tongue. Case report and literature review.” Annals of Medicine and Surgery, 2016.
  6. Le Roy, Caroline Ivanne, et al. “Yoghurt consumption is associated with changes in the composition of the human gut microbiome and metabolome.” BMC Microbiology, 2022.
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