Lip injuries are common, especially in children and adults who are active. Too many busted lips can increase the risk of scarring and affect healing time.
Lip injuries often heal fast and can be treated at home with simple remedies to reduce swelling and minor bleeding. If you develop a busted or cut lip from an accident or injury, the healing process could range from a few days to a few weeks depending on the severity of the lip wound.
If swelling doesn’t improve within 48 hours or if your lip continues to bleed excessively, you may need to seek medical attention.
When to call the doctor
A busted or cut lip can cause some discomfort. Some common symptoms include:
In more severe cases or if left untreated, you may experience pain and symptoms that take longer to heal. You should visit a doctor if you begin noticing signs of infection or if you experience the following symptoms:
- severe pain
- increased swelling
- uncontrollable bleeding
- difficulty breathing
- trouble swallowing
- difficulty opening or closing your mouth
In addition, if after cleaning your lip you notice the cut or wound is wider than an inch (half an inch in children) or forms a gash, visit a doctor immediately. You should also see a doctor if the wound is very dirty and can’t be cleaned or if it was caused by an animal or human bite. You may need stitches or other medical care.
Busted lip treatment
It’s important to care for a busted lip properly to avoid infection. Infection may be more likely with this type of injury than others because of the bacteria in the mouth. However, in most cases, a busted lip can be treated at home with some of these simple remedies.
Always wash your hands before cleaning or treating any wound. Any time you touch or put something on a wound, you risk introducing more bacteria or disrupting the natural healing process.
Keep topical treatments and cleanings to just twice a day unless the wound seems to need cleaning more often.
1. Soap and water
Prior to treating your lip injury, always be sure to clean the affected area thoroughly. Simple soap and water can help speed up the healing process. This is because cleaning your lip will remove any additional bacteria, irritants, or debris. Using unscented soaps may prevent irritation. Also, washing with soap and water is the best way to decrease your risk of infection.
2. Cold compress
A busted lip can be painful. Applying a cold compress can not only reduce pain, but also reduce swelling and numb the affected area. Cold compression therapy helps to stimulate blood flow and may speed up the recovery time.
To use a cold compress, wrap ice cubes in a towel and apply it to your busted lip with light pressure. You can also use frozen gel packs wrapped in a towel for the same effect. Avoid applying ice cubes or ice packs directly to your injury because that might cause further irritation. Apply the ice pack with pressure for five to 10 minutes, then repeat until swelling and pain decreases.
3. Salt water rinse
Salt is often thought to be an ideal healing agent for minor cuts and lip injuries. Salt contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that may help clean wound sites. Using a salt water rinse for your busted lip may reduce bacteria and thereby reduce your risk of infection.
To make your own saline solution or salt water rinse, mix a tablespoon of salt with lukewarm water. Soak a cotton ball in the solution, and apply it to your lip with light pressure. Repeat this process for a few minutes until swelling and light burning decreases.
If this is too painful, just wash with soap and water or even rinse with plain water.
You can also swish this solution around your mouth to remove any excess debris or bacteria from your lip wound. This method can be combined with other home remedies.
4. Baking soda
To help reduce swelling and pain, apply a baking soda paste to your lip. Baking soda contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that are thought to promote healing effects.
To make a baking soda paste, mix 1 teaspoon of water with 3 teaspoons of baking soda. Apply the paste to your lip and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Gently rub the paste off with cold water. If swelling and pain persist after a few hours, repeat this method.
5. Turmeric paste
Similar to baking soda, turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It contains curcumin, a compound that helps to promote healing. To help with swelling and pain from a busted lip, you can apply turmeric paste to the wound site.
To make a turmeric paste, mix 3 teaspoons of turmeric powder with cold water. Apply the paste to your busted lip, and allow it to dry completely. Rinse off the solution with lukewarm water.
You can repeat this remedy at least twice a day as long as it isn’t too painful.
Busting, scraping, or cutting your lip is a common injury that can be easily treated and often prevented. If you’re physically active or play sports, consider wearing a mouth guard to protect your lips, teeth, and gums. Lip balm can also keep your lips moisturized and prevent further irritation.
If your lip injury doesn’t improve after a few hours, or if it begins showing signs of infection, visit your doctor immediately. Though minor in most cases, busted lips can sometimes imply more serious conditions.