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What to do if your child has a cut or bitten tongue, lip or cheek

Understanding how to treat wounds to your child’s mouth will alleviate their discomfort, reduce the chance of infection, and encourage the wound to properly heal. If your child cuts or bites their tongue, cheek, or lip, rinse the area gently with water. Avoid scrubbing the wound, as this can cause pain and irritation. Instead, let cool water run over it to remove any germs and dirt particles.

Wash your hands and use a clean piece of gauze or cloth to apply gentle pressure to stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding has stopped, grab a cold compress and hold it to the injury site to reduce swelling and alleviate pain. If the cut or bite is on the outer lip or cheek, apply antibiotic ointment to reduce the chance of infection.

To encourage the healing process, have your child rinse the wound daily with warm saltwater. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water.

When to seek dental care

While a cut or bitten tongue, lip, or cheek is a scary experience, most injuries don’t require immediate dental care.

If you can’t control the bleeding with firm pressure, the cut is a puncture or gaping wound, or if your child exhibits signs of an infection (like tenderness, swelling, redness around the cut or bite, and pus drainage), contact us immediately.

When in doubt, call 911 immediately

In a pediatric emergency, it's essential to act quickly and seek medical help immediately. When faced with a situation where a child's health or life may be at risk, it's better to err on the side of caution and call 911 right away. Delaying treatment can worsen the condition and make it more difficult to save the child.

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek in Queens & Brooklyn, NY - Downtown Braces & Children's Dentistry

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek, Queens & Brooklyn, New York


A cut or bitten tongue, lip, or cheek is frightening for kids and parents, but mouth injuries are fairly common due to this area’s thin, soft skin.

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