Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Child poking out their tongue.

Child poking out their tongue.
beginning of content

Mouth and tongue cuts

2-minute read

Cuts to your mouth or tongue often bleed a lot because there is a large blood supply to that area. This may make you think your cut is worse than it is.

However, it is possible that large or deep wounds may need to be closed with stitches.

If a child is bleeding from their mouth, it’s a good idea to check they haven’t injured themselves somewhere else too, such as on their head.

Looking after yourself

Here is some first aid advice you can try.

  • Apply direct pressure to the wound if possible, using a clean cloth or pad. You may need to hold the dressing in place as it can be difficult to secure dressings to the mouth area. (If you are helping someone else, it’s best to wear disposable gloves.)
  • If the bleeding is very heavy, it may seep through the dressing. You may need to use a second dressing to cover the first one.
  • If the bleeding continues through both dressings and pads, don't stop applying pressure — remove only the second dressing and apply a new one. Bleeding should stop within 15 minutes of applying continuous pressure.
  • Try not to swallow the blood from the wound as this may make you vomit (feel sick). Try to spit the blood out.
  • If the wound is not bleeding, bathe it with clean water.
  • If you are in pain, get advice on pain relief medicines you can take.

If you are looking after someone with a serious injury, keep a close eye on them. If they are pale, or have cold or clammy skin, or have fast or shallow breathing, or have a fast or weak pulse, call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: December 2019

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Mouth sores

This fact sheet explains some common mouth sores, their symptoms and treatment.

Read more on Queensland Health website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo