Mouth Wounds First Aid


Mouth Wounds


mouth wounds

The soft tissue of the mouth contains a lot of blood vessels so even a small puncture wound or cut to the lips, mucosa, tongue or gums can result in a lot of bleeding, but generally bleeding in the mouth only lasts for a short time.


Mouth Wound Causes

The most common causes of mouth wounds are generally blunt force trauma which damages the soft tissue, sharp objects which can puncture or cut the soft tissue, and/or the person’s teeth. (For example being hit in the mouth with a ball or falling over and hitting their mouth)


Mouth Wound Symptoms

May include:

  • pain
  • bleeding
  • Bruising, swelling and cuts to the tongue and/or the tissue in or around the mouth
  • Tissue loss and/or tissue flaps

Some mouth injuries may be deep enough to penetrate the musculature or go right through the mucosa (gum) and skin, while others may damage both skin and lips, crossing the vermilion border. (The line between the lips and skin)


Mouth Wound Treatment

Check for associated injuries such as:

  • Breathing problems
  • Problems swallowing
  • Facial fractures
  • Tissue loss (over 1 centimeter long and deeper than ¾ of a centimeter)
  • Tooth injuries

If any of the above symptoms are present it is important to seek professional medical treatment. Major trauma to the mouth, facial fractures or tooth injuries must be seen by the appropriate medical professional who can properly assess the injury and prescribe an appropriate treatment plan.


For Minor Injuries

  • Sit the person down and lean them forward to help drain the blood out of the mouth (swallowing blood may cause vomiting)
  • Apply firm pressure on the wound for 15 minutes using a clean cloth (apply for a full 15 minutes before peeking)
  • If there is an object embedded in the wound it is important to leave it in place and apply pressure around it, not over it, then get professional help
  • If the blood soaks through the cloth add another clean cloth on top. Do not remove the first cloth


Inner Lip Bleeding

Apply direct pressure by pushing the bleeding area against the teeth or jaw. And /or place a piece of gauze between the lip and the gum


Tongue Bleeding

Using a piece of gauze or clean cloth, press or squeeze the bleeding site to apply direct pressure


Inner Cheek Bleeding

Place a piece of gauze or cloth between the wound and the teeth



You may need stitches if the laceration:

  • Bleeds for more than 15 minutes after direct pressure has been applied
  • Cuts through the vermilion border
  • Is deep enough to involve the musculature
  • Penetrates through the skin and gum
  • Causes tissue flaps
  • Is in the corner of the mouth


Damage To Teeth

This one is a no brainer – If you have a damaged or lost tooth go to the dentist immediately. To ensure long term survival of the tooth it is important to have it re-inserted into the socket and/or splinted as soon as possible. Preferably within one hour.

  • Put the tooth in either milk or saline (salt water)
  • If you cannot get to the dentist within an hour rinse the tooth in milk or saline by holding it at the crown and dipping it in the solution, do not touch the roots and do not scrub the tooth. Then carefully place it back in the socket being sure that it is the right way round and head to the nearest dentist