What Happens When You Bite Your Tongue?

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Biting the tongue can lead to pain, bruising, swelling, bleeding and infection, according to Simple Steps to Better Dental Health. Because of the rich blood supply to the mouth, the tongue is likely to bleed profusely if cut, but it is also able to heal quickly for the same reason.

If the tongue is bleeding after being bitten, it can be treated by replacing any skin flaps, holding them in place with clean gauze, and applying steady pressure for 15 minutes, according to WebMD. Alternatively, the tongue can be rinsed with cold water and pressed against the roof of the mouth, as Living Healthy 360 advises, or rinsed with hydrogen peroxide and salt water.

Medical attention could be necessary if bleeding doesn't stop or slow after 15 minutes of pressure, as stated on WebMD, or if the wound is longer than an inch or becomes infected. Signs of infection include redness, tenderness, fever, swelling and pus drainage. Over-the-counter medication may be used to relieve pain while the wound is healing.

Biting the tongue can be avoided by chewing slowly while eating, as stated on MedlinePlus, and by using plastic mouth guards molded to the shape of the teeth during sports, according to Simple Steps to Better Dental Health.