How Long Does It Take for a Tongue to Heal?

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The tongue typically heals very quickly because it contains so many blood vessels, according to Simple Steps to Better Dental Health. However, the specific length of time needed for a specific tongue injury to heal depends on the severity of the injury.

As Simple Steps to Better Dental Health points out, minor injuries to the tongue typically heal themselves without any treatment. Sometimes, rinsing with salt water or diluted hydrogen peroxide helps clean the wound, but patients should remember not to swallow hydrogen peroxide. Sometimes, doctors prescribe antibiotics in the event of a more serious tongue injury to counteract possible infection from the considerable number of bacteria that live in the mouth.

Very severe tongue injuries may require stitches. According to Medscape, tongues heal very quickly after surgery. Post-surgical care includes daily rinsing with diluted hydrogen peroxide and avoiding hard or chewy foods for up to three days.

Another form of tongue injury occurs when the tongue is pierced. As Piercology explains, a tongue piercing heals quickly compared to other body piercings, but it can still take three to four weeks to heal completely. A person recovering from a tongue piercing should rinse the tongue four times a day to prevent infection. Two of this rinses should use an antimicrobial mouthwash that contains no alcohol, and the other two should use a saltwater solution. The person should also avoid alcohol for two weeks to limit inflammation.