What to do if I accidentally bite my tongue?

In this short article we’ll answer the query, What to do if I accidentally bite my tongue?. We’ll also take a look at steps to follow to relieve the pain, and why it accidentally happens. 

What should I do if I accidentally bite my tongue?

Stopping the bleed is the goal when it comes to a tongue bite. Below we have summarized the step by step method that should be followed if you have accidentally bitten your tongue. let’s take a look at them 

Wash the area 

First thing to do if you bite your tongue is to thoroughly wash the area. Use cold tap water to do that. It will clear out any clot or debris and make the wound more visible. It will help you identify the site of where you are supposed to put the gauze and apply pressure. 

Apply antiseptic and gauze 

If the bitten area is not big, or if edible antiseptic is not available there is no need to apply it. Small wounds heal relatively quickly without any topical medication. Cover the injury with gauze and apply pressure on it. It will help stop the bleeding. 

Apply cold compression 

You can also apply cold packs or ice to the area. Make sure it does not have direct contact with the wound and has been wrapped in gauze or a clean piece of cloth. 

Applying cold compression will help shrink the vessels in the surrounding area and decrease the blood flow which eventually stops the bleeding. The numbing action of the cold also helps relieve the pain. 

Manage the pain 

The goal next to stopping the bleeding is to manage the pain. Normally, bite pain is bearable and subsides when cold packs are applied to the site of injury. If the wound is big or pain is unbearable then painkillers might be necessary. 

What to do if the bleeding doesn’t stop? 

Medical help will be needed if the bleeding does not stop. Normally the rule of thumb is that bleeding should stop within the 15 minutes of the bite while applying constant cold compression. If it does not stop even when the mentioned time has elapsed, then consult with the doctor. 

Make sure constant cold compression is constantly being applied on the tongue. Use sponge or cotton to absorb the blood and prevent swallowing. 

Can infection occur as a result of tongue bite? 

Yes, infection can sometimes occur as a result of a tongue bite. However, it is a very rare event. It mostly happens when the wound is big and does not heal by itself. As a result, bacteria and other microorganisms enter at the site of the wound and result in infection. 

Look out for the signs of fever, throbbing pain at the wound site, swelling. If any of these symptoms are present, consult with the doctor immediately. 

Is accidentally biting your tongue dangerous? 

Yes, accidentally biting your tongue can sometimes become dangerous and fatal. Muscle responsible for the movement of the jaw is very strong and exerts force over a very small surface area hence its strength is magnified.  

It can become particularly fatal when the tongue is numb due to some surgical procedure. Bitten or severed tongue will require immediate medical attention to disinfect the wound and to prevent any permanent damage to the muscle. It is recommended to seek professional help within the eight hours of occurrence of injury. 

Why do we accidentally bite our tongue? 

We sometimes accidentally bite our tongue due to issues in coordination and signaling. Bite is controlled by the area of the brain known as pons. It is one of the actions we don’t really think about. When this is perfectly coordinated we bite, chew and eat in a perfect manner. 

Sometimes these signals are missed or are crossed, resulting in the biting of tongue. For instance when we talk while eating. These signals can get crossed and bite will not be coordinated like it should have been. Distraction can sometimes also result in the biting of our tongue. 

What foods should you avoid when you have bitten your tongue? 

While recovering from tongue bite it is important to consume soft food that doesn’t require the use of tongue to a greater degree. Avoid taking food extremely hot and stay clear of spicy food. Avoiding citrus fruits, acidic food and processed salty foods also aid the healing and prevent irritation of the wound.


In this short article we answered the query ‘What to do if I accidentally bite my tongue?’ We also took a look at steps to follow to relieve the pain, and why it accidentally happens. 



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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.