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Swollen Lip Causes: How to Deal with Mouth Swelling

You might have experienced a random fat lip as the result of a ball thrown at your face during an ill-advised football game, but what happens if you suddenly see your upper or lower lip swelling up and you don’t know why? A swollen upper or lower lip can be caused by many things other than trauma. Find out what they are and how to deal with a sudden fat lip.

What Can Cause a Swollen Lip and How to Treat it

Broadly speaking, three things could cause a swollen lip:

Trauma directly to the mouth. Your gums, tongue, and lips have a lot of blood supply, and the skin on your lips is very thin. If something hits your mouth with a lot of force, for instance, a ball that’s been thrown from a distance, blood rushes to the area, causing a swollen appearance. Because of the high blood flow in the region, this area might bleed a lot.

No matter which one of your lips is swollen, you can suck on ice pops or ice cubes to reduce swelling. You can also apply a cold pack to the area for at least 10-15 minutes every 1-2 hours for at least 24 hours after the injury occurs.

Allergy. An allergic reaction may cause swelling in your lips. A common allergic reaction is known as angioedema, affecting the deeper layers of your skin. Swelling and redness around your lips, cheeks, and eyes is a common sign of angioedema. If you have a mild allergic reaction, you can treat it at home with an over-the-counter antihistamine. However, the Mayo Clinic warns that if you think a known allergy causes your angioedema to a food or medication, your swollen lip symptoms may be an early sign of an anaphylactic reaction. You must seek immediate medication attention if you feel your swelling increases or if you have trouble breathing.

Infection. Cheilitis is a condition involving the inflammation of the lips. It can be acute or chronic. A study in StatsPearls notes that viral cheilitis is mainly caused by the herpes simplex virus, type 1. The primary herpes infection affects the lips in most cases, manifesting as a cluster of blisters surrounding the mouth area. A burning sensation typically accompanies it.

Herpes blisters usually heal by themselves in about one to two weeks, although over-the-counter topical anesthetics can also give some relief.

It’s worth noting that you may have an infected lip or mouth if you have a cut in that area, and it’s not healing properly. Sometimes we get small cuts in and around the mouth and lips, for instance, if you bite down on your lip too hard. Infections occur when wounds and cuts that are healing become infiltrated with harmful bacteria. If you suspect that your lip is now infected and swollen, consult with your doctor. They can give you an antibiotic ointment or medication to stop the infection and help with the inflammation.

Because your lips are so delicate, a lot of different things could cause a random fat lip. It’s normal to be concerned or worried if you suddenly have a swollen lip, but once you figure out what’s causing it, they’re easy to manage. And if you’re having any trouble, don’t hesitate to consult with your doctor. They’ll help you find the right treatment to make you feel better in no time!

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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