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How to heal a cut on your tongue?

Apr 17, 2023Oral health

How to heal a cut on your tongue?

A cut on your tongue can be attributed to various potential causes, both internal (e.g. biting of the inner cheek) and external (e.g. dental treatment). Most tongue cuts require only a minimal treatment; however, some can be serious and demand emergency care. These include direct trauma to the face, deep lacerations on the inner cheek, gums, or tongue, and relevant dental injuries that need to be addressed.

To help alleviate pain and reduce the risk of infection, we recommend rinsing your mouth with lukewarm salt water. To make a saltwater rinse, dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water.

Applying an ice pack or cold compress can help reduce swelling and provide relief from pain.

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as paracetamol, may provide relief.


What to do if you get a cut on your mouth or tongue?

If an individual experiences bleeding from the mouth following an injury, it is imperative to ensure they are still able to breathe comfortably. In certain cases, swelling of the mouth or excessive bleeding can obstruct their ability to breathe.

In the case of an injury resulting in oral bleeding, it is important to check for any other potential injuries. This is especially true if the injury was caused by a blow to the head or a fall, as there may be associated head trauma and/or dental damage.

If you or someone else sustains a mouth injury, it is recommended that the following steps be taken:

  • Apply direct pressure to the wound by using a clean cloth or pad, if possible. It can be challenging to affix a dressing to the mouth area, so it may be necessary to hold the dressing in place. If assisting another individual, disposable gloves should be worn for precautionary reasons.
  • If the bleeding is excessive, it may saturate the dressing. It may be necessary to apply a second dressing on top of the initial one.
  • If excessive bleeding persists despite the application of both dressings and pads, maintain pressure by removing only the second dressing and replacing it with a new one. Continuous pressure should bring about a cessation of bleeding within 10 minutes.
  • It is advised not to swallow the blood from a wound, as it may lead to vomiting or a feeling of nausea. Spitting out the blood is recommended.
  • If the wound is not actively bleeding, it should be cleaned with clean, running water.
  • If you are experiencing pain, it is recommended to seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist regarding available forms of pain relief medication.

If your wound was caused by an object with a possible risk of contamination (e.g. a rusty nail or wire), it may be necessary to consult your doctor about receiving a tetanus booster immunization.


Do I need stitches for a cut on my mouth or tongue?

In most cases, cuts to the tongue or palate will heal naturally and do not require stitching. Exceptions to this are instances when the cut is especially large, or if it continues to bleed despite self-care efforts.

Stitches are typically not necessary for minor cuts inside the lips.

In the event of a laceration to the exterior of your lips, it is necessary to seek medical attention to determine if stitches are needed. Please consult your doctor or visit the nearest emergency department for an evaluation.

Locate the nearest hospital emergency department or after-hours medical service in your area by using the Health Direct Service Finder tool.



The healing process of the cut on your tongue can be improved by taking precautionary measures. Regularly rinsing the tongue with non-alcoholic mouthwash, at least twice daily, will help to prevent infection, eliminate bacteria and encourage healing. It is advised that alcoholic mouthwashes be avoided as they may cause irritation.

It is recommended to abstain from consuming spicy foods, citrus fruits, and beverages.

For those without a non-alcoholic mouthwash, salt water can be used as an effective gargling solution. Simply mix a small portion of salt in warm water, and gargle two times daily. For added benefit, a medical saline solution may be substituted for regular salt water.

We suggest applying Aloe Vera gel to and around the cut on your tongue in order to reduce pain and discomfort and speed up healing.

Incorporating food high in vitamin C, such as mangoes and grapes, into your diet can aid in promoting healing.

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