Biting the inside of your lip can be painful. It often happens accidentally and is especially common in children. You might bite the inside of your lip:
- while eating or talking
- during a fall, collision, or other accident
- while playing sports
- during a seizure
- due to stress
Although the injury can hurt, it usually doesn’t need medical attention. You can treat a minor bite at home with self-care measures.
Read on to learn about treatment options for a bite inside your lip, and when you should call a doctor.
When you bite the inside of your lip, your teeth press against your skin. This can hurt because your lips have many nerve endings, which makes them very sensitive to pain.
Plus, if the bite punctures your skin, you may have a lot of bleeding. That’s because your lips have a rich supply of blood.
Other possible symptoms of a bitten lip include:
Depending on the force of the bite, it can also cause injuries like:
- canker sores
- mucocele (mucus-filled cyst)
In most cases, you can treat a bitten lip at home. Also, because your lips get a lot of blood, the bite should heal quickly.
Here’s how to clean and treat a bite inside your lip:
- Check the wound for dirt or debris, especially if you bit your lip during an accident. If there’s anything stuck in the wound, don’t remove it. Get medical attention immediately.
- Gently clean the area with a clean cloth. Don’t scrub or rub the wound.
- Rinse your lip with cool water.
- Place clean gauze or a clean cloth on the bite. Apply pressure for 5 to 10 minutes. If it continues to bleed, place a new piece of gauze on top and keep applying pressure.
- Once the bleeding stops, wrap an ice cube or ice pack in a clean cloth and apply it to the wound. This will help reduce swelling.
As the bite heals, you can take the following steps to manage symptoms and prevent infection:
- Rinse with saltwater. Saltwater can help reduce pain and protect your wound from harmful bacteria. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of non-iodized salt in 1 cup of warm water, then swish in your mouth for 4 minutes.
- Apply a cold compress. To manage swelling, place an ice cube on the inside of your lip. If you’re using an ice pack, wrap it in a clean cloth first.
- Take over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen, can help manage pain and swelling.
- Apply an oral antiseptic gel. An OTC oral antiseptic gel works against infection-causing bacteria. Many of these gels also relieve pain.
You can treat other types of mouth injuries with similar home remedies. Let’s look at some of the most common mouth injuries and the steps you can take to treat them.
Bitten cheek or bitten tongue
A bitten cheek or tongue are both common mouth injuries that can happen during:
- playing sports
- a fall or collision
A bitten cheek or tongue can also be caused by misaligned teeth. Normally, your upper teeth stop you from biting your cheeks and your lower teeth protect your tongue. But a misalignment can cause accidental bites.
Symptoms of a bitten cheek or tongue include the following symptoms at the site of the bite:
To treat a bitten cheek or tongue:
- Rinse your mouth with saltwater.
- Place an ice cube on the bite, or suck on an ice cube for a tongue bite.
- Take NSAIDs for pain relief.
- Apply oral antiseptic gel to the bite to prevent an infection.
A canker sore, or aphthous ulcer, is a small red sore with a white center. It usually has an oval or round shape. Canker sores can develop on your:
- inner lips and cheeks
These sores can have many possible causes, including:
- mouth injuries, like biting the inside of your lip
- viral infection
- vitamin or mineral deficiency
- food allergy
- hormonal changes
Treatments for canker sores include:
- rinsing your mouth with saltwater
- using an antiseptic mouth sore rinse
- applying an ice cube on the sore
- taking NSAIDs for pain relief
- applying a topical oral pain medication on the sore
Minor mouth injuries like a bite typically don’t need stitches or medical attention. But if you or your child have any of the following symptoms, be sure to call a doctor:
- a deep or large wound (longer than 1/2 inch)
- a cut that goes through the lip
- debris stuck in the wound
- bleeding that won’t stop
- severe or worsening pain
- difficulty opening or closing your mouth
- signs of infection
It’s important to get medical help if the wound is due to a serious injury, like a motor vehicle accident or a major fall.
Biting the inside of your lip is a common mouth injury. Depending on the severity of the bite, it can cause pain, bleeding, and swelling.
Typically, you can treat a minor bitten lip at home. Rinse the area with cool water and apply pressure with clean gauze to stop the bleeding. You can also suck on an ice cube to reduce swelling.
Get medical help if your lip bite doesn’t stop bleeding. You should call a doctor if you have symptoms of infection or pain that gets worse. If your injury is due to a major accident or a serious fall, seek medical help right away.