Bleeding in the mouth is commonly caused by the bleeding of the gums around the teeth. Sometimes, however, bleeding may also come from the tongue, lips or inside of the cheek due to accidental biting. These types of bleeding must be stopped immediately to avoid breathing problems when too much blood accumulates in the throat blocking airway.
Causes of Bleeding in the Mouth
There are many causes for bleeding in the mouth. As an entry way for the digestive and, sometimes, respiratory systems it can also serve as an exit for any end products wound or trauma in the digestive tract
- After dental work
- Head or neck injury
- Mouth inflammation
- Ulcers of the mouth
- Heavy metal poisoning, such as lead, mercury and arsenic
- Nose injury which bleeds and overspills to the mouth
- Allergic rhinitis
- Head trauma
- Dry air
- Pharyngitis due to allergic reaction, chemical trauma or infection
- Esophagus (usually due to presence of blood in vomit)
- Inflammation of esophagus
- Larynx, trachea, bronchi and lungs (usually due to presence of blood in cough reflex)
- Presence of foreign body
- Pulmonary embolism
Symptoms of Bleeding in the Mouth
It is necessary to identify whether the blood originated from the mouth or is related to nosebleed, vomiting, or coughing. However, there are a few symptoms that can help identify the source of bleeding:
- Blood or bruises in the mouth or anywhere inside the mouth
- Bright red or rash point-sized dots on tongue, under the tongue, roof of the mouth or inside of the cheeks
- Blood oozing from nostril
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Throat/ larynx/ trachea/ bronchi/ lungs
- Coughing up blood
- Vomiting blood
How to Treat Victims with Bleeding in the Mouth
If emergency treatment is not required, the following tips may be done. These will give protection to the victim and rescuer. Disclaimer: These tips do not substitute for any first aid training. It is still highly recommended to take first aid and CPR courses for emergency treatments.
- Before attempting to cease bleeding
- Wash hands with water and soap.
- If available, wear gloves. If none is available, plastic bags or anything that could prevent direct contact between the blood and hand. Bare hands should be the last resort.
- Assist the person to sit up with head tilted forward and chin down to drain the blood from the mouth. If the person is unconscious, tilt the head to the side to avoid blocking the airway.
- If there are any visible objects, remove them.
- Avoid cleaning out the wound. Apply direct pressure to the wound, until bleeding stops, using a sterile absorbent material, if possible.
- If the inner lip is bleeding, press it against the teeth or jaw.
- If the inner cheek is bleeding, put a rolled gauze or piece of cloth between the teeth and wound.
- If the tongue is bleeding, press on the site of bleeding using a sterile cloth.
- Once bleeding in the mouth stops, gently rinse the mouth with ice water every two hours.