The human tongue is an essential organ of the human body. It allows us to talk, helps us break down food, and swallow it properly.
Although the tongue is a muscular organ that contracts and relaxes to perform essential functions such as chewing and talking, its injuries are pretty standard.
Furthermore, as the tongue receives a constant blood flow, it results in a higher degree of pain if it’s hurt or injured. A tear or cut to the tongue can end up bleeding a lot, though the minor injuries may cure on their own. If you happen to have a bleeding tongue every other day, it would be best to consider it an alarming situation.
Some of these injuries may be small and heal within time, while others may pose a severe matter, and others could be a lifelong health risk. Hence, if the bleeding tongue persists, one must seek medical assistance immediately.
Nevertheless, this article looks at some common causes that can be tended and catered at home and some concerning conditions where you must go and consult a healthcare professional.
Let’s dive in!
Overview of a Tongue Injury
Before we discuss the serious causes and conditions of a bleeding tongue, let’s get to know the physical/mechanical causes of a bleeding tongue.
One’s tongue could be injured or start bleeding due to various culprits. The causes are as stated down below:
- Biting it accidentally or intentionally
- Metal brackets and wires of braces
- Due to crowns and dentures
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Having one or multiple tongue piercings
- Cutting it on sharp foods or utensils
Whatever the reason for your tongue injury is, it is essential to discover its root causes and stop that bleeding tongue immediately.
In most cases, slight bleeding is nothing to be concerned about. However, watching out for your symptoms and the degree of pain you are going through would be a wise move.
Effective Home Remedies for a Bleeding Tongue
If you are dealing with a bleeding tongue, some easy and effective home remedies may provide instant relief and stop the bleeding for good. A few of these remedies include the following listed down below:
- Place ice-cubes on the affected area 2 to 3 times a day. Ensure that you put the ice cube through a clean napkin or an unused gauze/bandage.
- Rinse your mouth 3-5 times a day with an antiseptic or a mixture of a teaspoon of baking soda or salt into a cup of warm water.
- Avoid warm liquids or beverages and spicy food that can irritate the mouth or worsen/ trigger a sore mouth or ulcer.
- Take an over-the-counter painkiller to decrease the pain and reduce swelling.
- Let the tongue heal and get better on its own instead of poking or eating on the sore side. It will only worsen the condition.
Causes and Treatments of a Tongue Injury
If you have tried every possible home remedy but still can’t seem to have your bleeding tongue come under control, you might be going through any chronic or infectious causes.
1. Oral Herpes
Oral herpes is defined as a contagious condition caused by the herpes simplex virus. The majority of the cases are from the HSV-1.
Since the infection is contagious, it spreads through kissing or oral sex. One can also get caught up by contact with the objects shared with a person suffering from oral herpes. This virus can survive in the human body for years and go unnoticed. However, factors such as stress and hormonal changes can trigger it.
Symptoms of oral herpes include:
- Rash or a blister filled with fluid that pops open and becomes sore
- Pain and redness
- Itching and a burning sensation inside and outside the mouth
For now, there is no cure for oral herpes. However, it is manageable through medications. Primary treatment includes antiviral medications and topical creams. Contact your doctor if the symptoms keep worsening.
2. Disorder of the Blood Vessels
A percentage of individuals develop a collection of excess blood vessels called hemangiomas. They appear on the face, head, mouth or neck and tend to appear at the time of birth.
Though it is rare, tongue hemangiomas can cause pain, bleeding, and difficulty eating. If it poses a concerning health risk, the doctor might recommend the surgery option.
As for tongue hemangiomas, various treatment options are available, depending on the person’s age and physical condition. Some of these include:
- Laser treatment
- Radiation treatment
In some cases, tongue hemangiomas may fade entirely with time.
Mouth ulcers are known as stomatitis or canker sores. These are white, tiny sores that appear in the mouth, including the tongue.
Even though they are pretty painful, they rarely cause any concern. However, at times there can be red and large ulcers that are much more painful and harder to get rid of.
Fortunately, ulcers don’t require any special medical attention. They commonly clear up on their own in a week or two. Your doctor may recommend some pain killers, but you can follow the following tips to ensure a speedy recovery:
- Brushing teeth with a soft toothbrush
- Avoid chewing gums and crunchy or hard to eat food items
- Eating a balanced diet
- Drinking or eating room temperature foods and drinks
4. Tongue Cancer
The persistent appearance of a mouth ulcer might be an indication of cancer. Over time, the ulcer becomes hard and expands. Not only that, but these ulcers bleed and hurt.
Cancer on the top of the tongue is defined as oral cancer or the cancer of the mouth. And if the cancer is on the underside of the tongue, it’s known as oropharyngeal cancer, aka the middle throat’s cancer.
Some symptoms of tongue cancer are:
- The appearance of lumps on the tongue that bleed easily when bitten or touched
- Unexplained bleeding of the tongue
- A feeling of numbness and soreness in the mouth
- A sore spot or lump on the tongue
As with most cancers, the condition and stage will determine how they will be treated. Some of the treatment options are as stated:
- Surgery is performed to remove the tumour and other regions where it has spread
- Destruction of cancer cells through radiation therapy
- Specific drugs are used to destroy the cancer cells through chemotherapy
A bleeding tongue isn’t much of a concern. In most cases, a tongue injury occurs due to physical or mechanical causes.
Nonetheless, if it doesn’t seem to get better and continues to bleed and worsen, it would be best to immediately seek medical assistance. Only a healthcare professional would be able to detect if your bleeding tongue is because of an underlying health issue or not.
If your symptoms have lasted for more than 2 to 3 weeks, meet a doctor. It would be an excellent move to keep track of your symptoms so you can communicate with the professional better and have a specific treatment plan to follow.