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Accidentally biting your tongue when chewing gum or eating a meal can cause a minor jolt of pain, yet it rarely causes any significant oral trauma. However, there are times when an accident or a blow to the face while playing a contact sport can cause a serious tongue injury. This is even more likely to happen if you participate in athletics without wearing an appropriate mouthguard.

For a severe case with significant bleeding and pain, you should strongly consider going to the emergency room. For a less-severe tongue injury that requires basic first aid, Dr. Yakov Royzman & Karina Zaygermakher offers the following tips.

You will first need to assess the severity of the tongue injury. You can do this by rinsing your mouth gently with lukewarm saltwater. This will help wash away any blood or debris in your mouth and give you a better look at the situation. The saltwater can also help soothe injured tissues.

If your tongue is bleeding excessively or if you’ve bitten through it, you likely need to seek professional treatment at the emergency room or an urgent care clinic.

You might also be able to control the bleeding by applying light pressure to a sterile gauze pad. If you can’t easily hold the gauze with your fingers, you could try pressing your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Try not to swallow too much blood as this can lead to stomach upset.

Should the bleeding persist for longer than half an hour or if the pain is getting worse, it’s a clear sign that the tongue injury requires professional treatment in the emergency room or an urgent care clinic.

If you live in the New York, New York, area and you need further advice on how to manage a tongue injury, you can always call (212) 579-0552 to speak to the oral care specialists at Professional Dental & Implant Center.