Between split lips and cut tongues, few kids make it through childhood without a mouth injury– and numerous seem like they can’t go a month without one. Luckily, the majority of mouth injuries (even the actually bloody ones) are small and quickly treated. Here’s what you’ll need to understand to prevent and treat mouth injuries in your child:
WHY MOUTH INJURIES IN CHILDREN OCCUR
If it seems like mouth injuries– that cut on the lip or that bit-up tongue– are right up there on a child’s boo-boo order of business (just listed below scraped knees and bumped heads), it’s for good reason. For one thing, all that mouthing can cause mouth injuries– especially when the object that’s found its method into your child’s mouth is sharp. Mentioning sharp– a kid’s own teeth can take a toll on tender mouth tissue, especially while he’s getting the hang of chewing, however also when he’s eating while distracted (some cheek with that chicken?) or on the move (another case for sit-down meals and snacks). And naturally, there are those inescapable faults, spills, and tumbles– the ones that new caretakers, spiders, cruisers, and walkers take, frequently biting their lips or tongues or banging their mouths en route down.
HOW TO TREAT MOUTH INJURIES IN CHILDREN
Mouth injuries in children generally look much worse than they actually are. There are many blood vessels in the areas near the head and neck that even a tiny cut on your youngster’s lip or tongue can cause a lot of bleeding (which can even make it tough for you to find out precisely where all that blood is coming from). It’s bound to be a little frightening (especially if you’re the weak-kneed type) but aim to remain calm– possibilities are you’re dealing with a minor injury. (Plus, the calmer you are, the much faster your child will calm down.) Then follow these steps to minimize the bleeding, reduce the pain, prevent infection, and begin the recovery of a mouth injury:
- Stop the bleeding. For bleeding the external lip or tongue, apply gentle pressure to the area with a piece of gauze or a tidy cloth (run it first under cool water if you can) for as long as possible (ten minutes of pressure is ideal, however might not be realistic if you have a squirming baby or toddler on your hands). For bleeding from the inner lip (upper or lower), gently press the part of the lip that’s bleeding versus your child’s teeth (or gums) for 10 minutes (or, again, as long as you’re able, provided the twitching). Prevent pulling the lip after that to check out the damage– that will begin the bleeding again.
- Distract as you treat. If there were ever a time to place on a preferred DVD or pull out a preferred interruption (yes, even the usually-forbidden keys), this would be it. The longer your child sits (reasonably) still for treatment, the quicker the bleeding will stop.
- Keep it cool. To numb the pain and reduce the swelling, use an ice pack (or a bag of frozen veggies) to the area. If your child’s old sufficient to handle one, drawing on a Popsicle might also relieve a minor mouth injury.
- Provide pain relief, as needed. Many mouth injuries don’t keep a child down for long, but if your kid appears to be in a lot of discomfort, a dosage of acetaminophen or ibuprofen (if he’s over age 6 months) ought to ease the pain.
- Feed with care. While the cut is on the fix, keep your child’s diet on the dull side (anything acidic– like orange juice– or salty might sting). If the cut is inside the mouth, a softer-than-usual diet may also be less likely to irritate. Popsicles will continue to be a soothing treat. Washing with warm water after meals (if that ability has currently been mastered) will keep food from collecting in a mouth cut.
Give it a few days. Small mouth injuries in children (and again, a lot of are minor) normally recover in three to four days.
WHEN TO CALL THE DOCTOR ABOUT A MOUTH INJURY
You can usually treat many mouth injuries in children at home. But be sure to call the doctor under any of these circumstances:
- There’s heavy bleeding that does not stop after ten minutes of direct pressure– or you were not able to keep direct pressure on your squirmy child and he’s still bleeding profusely.
- There’s a deep or open cut, or a cut longer than a half inch.
- There’s embedded debris or dirt in the wound.
- There’s a leak injury to the roof of the mouth, back of the throat, or tonsils (brought on by your toddler falling while holding a pencil, for instance), which can hurt deeper tissues in the head or neck.
- The injury was brought on by a dirty or rusty things (particularly if you’re uncertain whether your child is updated on the tetanus vaccine).
- The injury was caused by an animal or human bite.
- You suspect any bone injury (for instance, your child is unable to move his jaw or his cheekbone is swollen)
- Your child’s tooth has been broken or knocked out (call the dentist first).
- You see signs of infection (localized soreness, increased swelling and pain, or unexplained fever) in the first few days after the injury.
HOW TO AVOID MOUTH INJURIES IN CHILDREN
No matter the number of preventative measures you take– or rules you set and impose– chances are you will not be able to avoid every mouth injury. Still, they’ll occur less often if you:
- Take childproofing steps that discourage slipups and soften those unavoidable falls. Stash slippery toss rugs (and make certain all area carpets have non-skid pads or support) and pad table edges and anything else that’s sharp.
- To cut down on trips and falls, let your cruising baby or fledgling walker practice those skills barefoot or in nonskid socks or slippers, when possible.
- Do not let your child walk or run while holding a sharp item.
- Don’t let your youngster walk or run with a toy in his mouth.
- Make consuming (even snacking) a sit-down affair.
- Serve smaller parts of food, so your child does not aim to jam excessive food in his mouth simultaneously (and bite down unintentionally on his tongue or cheek). Constantly put your baby or toddler in a safety seat to avoid injuries (to the mouth or other parts of the body).