Dentistry

Blood blister in mouth: Pictures and treatment

Blood blisters in the mouth can be unsightly and uncomfortable. Most of the time, oral blood blisters result from accidental injury to the tissues in the mouth.

Oral blood blisters can have other causes, however, especially if they happen often or do not heal. There are steps a person with blood blisters in their mouth can take to relieve their symptoms and promote healing.

What is a blood blister in the mouth?

A blood blister is a raised area of skin or a sore inside the mouth filled with blood and other fluid. Many blood blisters in the mouth happen when blood vessels just below the skin rupture.

The blood from the blood vessel gets trapped under the skin, causing a blood blister to form.


Causes

Blood blister in mouth caused by angina bullosa haemorrhage. Image credit: Angus Johnson, (2013, May 1)
Blood blisters in the mouth may be caused by angina bullosa haemorrhage.
Image credit: Angus Johnson, (2013, May 1).

Many oral blood blisters have no known cause and appear in the mouth spontaneously. Other blood blisters in the mouth have fairly harmless causes, including:

  • accidental biting or scalding of the lip or cheek
  • stress
  • allergic reaction
  • angina bullosa hemorrhagica
  • poorly-fitting dentures
  • braces on the teeth

Angina bullosa hemorrhagica is a disorder that causes oral blood blisters to form spontaneously. It is not a harmful condition unless a large blister blocks the airway.

Some blood blisters are the result of more serious causes. These include:

Symptoms

Many blood blisters in the mouth have no symptoms beyond the blister itself. Some people experience mild pain and burning at and around the site of the blister.

Symptoms of a blood blister in the mouth will usually resolve when the blister goes away. People may experience other symptoms depending on the underlying cause.


When to see a doctor

Blood blister on tongue. Image credit: Das Kleinhirn, (2013, April 23)
Recurring blood blisters will require medical attention.
Image credit: Das Kleinhirn, (2013, April 23)

Most blood blisters in the mouth do not require a doctor’s care. However, people may need to seek medical attention in the following cases:

  • frequently recurring blood blisters
  • blood blisters that do not heal
  • very large blood blisters
  • blood blisters that prevent eating or drinking
  • blood blisters that appear on lips
  • blood blisters from poorly-fitting dentures or braces

If a person has dentures or braces that cause blood blisters, their dentist may be able to adjust the appliance, so it does not cause any more problems.

Remedies and treatment

Most blood blisters in the mouth can be managed with home remedies. People with blood blisters in the mouth can try the following:

Ice

Icing a blood blister in the mouth can help ease the inflammation and even prevent the blister from forming if the ice is applied immediately after an injury.

To use ice on a blood blister in the mouth, a person should hold an ice cube directly on the blister for up to 10 minutes several times per day. A person can also use light pressure to help stop the bleeding. A flavored frozen popsicle can also be used in the same way.

Cucumber slices

Cucumbers contain silica, a chemical that may be beneficial to skin regeneration and healing. To use a cucumber on a blood blister, a person can hold a small slice of cold cucumber on the affected area several times a day until the blister heals.

A person with oral blood blisters can also drink cucumber water to help with healing.

Witch hazel

Witch hazel is full of astringent tannins that work to reduce pain and dry up blisters. Some research shows that witch hazel may even reduce inflammation.

To use witch hazel on a blood blister in the mouth, a person should soak a cotton swab in witch hazel and dab the swab on the blister.

The mouth should be kept open for several minutes to allow the witch hazel time to dry. This can be repeated several times a day until the blister heals.

Some people may experience mild allergic reactions to witch hazel. The witch hazel can be dabbed on a small, non-sensitive area first to test for an allergy. If there is no adverse reaction after 24 hours, witch hazel is usually safe to use.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a popular spice, especially in curries. Ayurvedic medicine, which is a form of folk medicine found primarily in South Asia, often uses turmeric to treat pain and inflammation.

Unfortunately, research has found little evidence to support turmeric’s use as a pain reliever or anti-inflammatory agent. However, there is anecdotal evidence that it is useful for these symptoms.

To use this remedy on an oral blood blister, a teaspoon of turmeric can be mixed with honey to make a balm and applied directly to the affected area.

Chamomile

Chamomile tea is popular for its soothing qualities and is sometimes used to provide relief from mouth sores.

People with blood blisters in their mouth can try drinking a cup of chamomile tea to soothe any soreness and promote healing.


Tips for healing and prevention

Woman having teeth checked at the dentist
Removing dentures, or getting new dentures, may help to treat and prevent blood blisters in the mouth.

Blood blisters in the mouth can be an uncomfortable nuisance.

To help heal blood blisters and prevent them in the future, a person can:

  • avoid spicy foods
  • remove dentures until sore heals
  • see a dentist for new dentures if that is the cause
  • avoid popping the blister
  • choose soft foods while the blister is healing
  • see a doctor if the blisters recur often or are large

Outlook

Most blood blisters in the mouth are benign and will go away within 2 weeks. They may improve faster with home remedies, including ice, witch hazel, or chamomile.

Occasionally, blood blisters in the mouth may happen due to an underlying cause, such as renal failure or low platelet levels. These conditions require medical treatment.

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