Accidents happen! In this blog we go over mouth injury prevention, step by step what to do in the moment, what and how to monitor and when to seek medical attention.
Prevention of mouth injuries
Most kids have mouth injuries when learning to walk, so baby proofing is ideal. Watch for items they are walking with in their mouth and make sure to do the toilet roll test!
What to do if your child injures their mouth?
- Take a breath. Your child hurt themselves and that can be traumatizing to you just as much as them. Try to center yourself as much as you can to attend to them. I know sometimes it’s hard to be strong, but when they’re hurt, try to hold it together. You can go cry in a room later (trust me, I’ve done that). But in the moment, they need you.
- Stop the bleeding if there is any. Hold pressure with a clean/wet paper towel. This is a very vascular area. Hold for 10 minutes. If still bleeding after 10 minutes, seek medical attention via a dentist or pediatrician. Clean with water and do a cold compress. If there is an open gash that is bleeding, see your dentist or go to the ER. When the bleeding stops, simply monitor.
Bleeding stopped? Let’s check the mouth
- The tongue will bleed and rarely needs closure. Monitor if 10 min+ bleeding, or if you see signs of infection, seek medical attention.
- Upper lip/lower lip: The upper lip rarely needs an evaluation. Watch for signs of infection, holding the outer lip against the teeth for 10 minutes to stop the bleeding. Avoid pulling the lip out to check the injury, as this can restart the bleeding. If you move the lip, it will re-bleed so be careful.
- Back of throat: Any injury to the palate/roof of the mouth needs to be evaluated. This includes if your child is running with a pencil or toy and trips.
- Teeth: If anything is cracked or displaced, see the dentist. If a tooth is knocked out, try to find the tooth and see the dentist. For any permanent teeth, keep them moist in milk or tooth preservation product (like save a tooth). If monitoring at home, the dental office may have you look for any developing abscess and color changes.
Management of mouth injuries
- Cold items
- Pain meds
- Avoid citrus and sour foods because they may sting!
When to seek medical attention
- Infection concern and/or fever
- If the child can’t open or close their mouth
- Trouble swallowing fluids or saliva
- Severe pain (meds aren’t helping)
- If there is a gaping cut
- Injury to back of throat
- Bleeding won’t stop after 10 minutes
- There is any sign of troubled breathing
- You are concerned! This is the number one rule. We are here for you!