Turn on notifications so you do not miss out on the most interesting health and wellness publications.
What do you need to know?

7 main causes for swollen mouth and what to do

A swollen mouth is usually a sign of allergy and may appear immediately or up to 2 hours after taking medication or eating foods that have a tendency to cause allergic reactions, such as peanuts, shellfish, eggs, or soybeans.

However, a swollen mouth may also indicate other health problems, such as cold sores, dry and burned lips, mucocele, or other lip inflammation, and it is therefore recommended to consult a general practitioner whenever the swelling lasts for more than 3 days or immediately if there is difficulty breathing.

Passing a pebble of ice on swollen lips may help deflate, but using allergy remedies may also be helpful.

Main causes for mouth swelling

The main causes for mouth swelling are:

1. Allergy

Food or medication allergy
Food or medication allergy

Food allergy is the leading cause for swollen mouth and lips and usually appears up to 2 hours after eating food, and may also be accompanied by coughing, feeling of something in the throat, difficulty breathing or redness in the face. However, other types of allergies can arise, being caused by lipstick, makeup, pills, home tooth whitening or plants.

What to do: The treatment is usually done with the use of anti-allergic pills, such as Cetirizine or Desloratadine, prescribed by a general practitioner. If there is too much trouble breathing, go to the emergency room immediately or call an ambulance, 911 for the U.S. and 999 for the UK. Also, it is recommended to take an allergy test to see what kind of substances produce a reaction to keep it from coming back. In situations due to the use of lipstick, makeup or cosmetic products, it is also recommended not to use the same product again.

2. Herpes 


Herpes is an infection in the mouth witch can cause a swelling in the lip, accompanied by small blisters, and a tingling sensation or numbness in the area. However, other infections, such as candidiasis, can also cause swelling of the mouth, especially when the lips are cracked, which increases the proliferation of many microorganisms, causing redness around the lips, fever and pain.

What to do: It is necessary to consult a general practitioner to evaluate the problem and identify the microorganism that is causing the infection, to start treatment with ointments or pills. In the case of herpes, it may be necessary to use ointments and antiviral pills, such as acyclovir, for example. Anti-inflammatory or analgesic pills, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, for example, may also be used to relieve symptoms of pain and tenderness in the mouth. See what are the symptoms of lips herpes and it's treatment.

3. Dry or burnt lips from the cold or the sun

Burnt lips
Burnt lips

Sunburns, hot or acidic foods, such as lemon or pineapple, can cause swelling in the mouth that usually lasts for about 1 or 2 days, accompanied by pain, burning, and color changes on the spot. The same can happen when you are in extreme temperatures, in very cold places or with snow.

What to do: To decrease the swelling and to pass moisturizing cream, cocoa butter or Vaseline when the lips are dry or burned.

4. Mucocele


The mucocele is a type of cyst that causes a small swelling in the mouth after biting the lips or after traumas, for example due to the accumulation of saliva inside the inflamed salivary gland.

What to do: usually the mucocele disappears without any type of treatment after about 3 days. However, when it increases in size or takes some time to disappear it may be advised to go to a general practitioner to drain the cyst and accelerate the treatment.​​​​​​

See the possible causes and treatment for mucocele.

5. Tooth abscess

Tooth abscess
Tooth abscess

Inflammation in the teeth, by caries or dental abscess, for example, causes swelling in the gums, which can extend to the lips. In this case, the person feels a lot of pain around the inflamed tooth, which can be accompanied by bleeding, bad smell in the mouth and even fever. The lips can also suffer inflammation caused by pimples, folliculitis or some trauma, such as by using the device, for example, that may arise suddenly.

  • What to do: In the case of dental inflammation, the dentist should be sought for treatment of inflammation, with analgesic medications, antibiotics or, if necessary, a dental surgical procedure. To relieve inflammation on the lips, a patch should be made with warm water, and anti-inflammatory pills, such as ibuprofen prescribed by a general practitioner, may be used to relieve pain and swelling.

6. Fall, injury or trauma


A fall can cause a mouth injury, which can also happen in a car accident, which can leave the mouth swollen for a few days until the injured tissues recover completely. Usually the site becomes very sore and the skin may have purple or reddish marks, sometimes the tooth can injure the lip causing a cut, which is very common in children who are learning to walk or are already running and playing ball with the friends.

  • What to do: Cold patches and teabags of cold chamomile tea can be applied directly over the swollen mouth, which can deflate the region in a few minutes. It should be used, 2 to 3 times a day.

7. Impetigo


Impetigo may also make the mouth swollen, but there is always a sore on the lip or near the nose. This is a common infection in childhood, and it passes easily from one child to another, and should always be evaluated by a pediatrician.

What to do: You should go to the doctor so that he can confirm if it really is impetigo and indicate the use of an antibiotic ointment. In addition, you need some important care such as not tearing off the bruise from the bruise, keeping the area always clean, taking a bath daily and applying the remedy right away

Other causes

In addition to these, there are other causes of swelling in the mouth such as:

  • Bug bite;
  • Use teeth apparatus;
  • Spicy foods;
  • Pre-eclampsia in pregnancy;
  • Piercing inflamed;
  • Canker sores;
  • Quelite;
  • Oral cancer;
  • Heart, liver or kidney failure.

Therefore, it is important to seek medical help if this symptom is present and can not identify the reason.

When to go to the doctor

It is also recommended to consult an emergency room whenever the mouth swelling:

  • Appears suddenly and is very swollen, and also the tongue and throat, making it difficult to breathe;
  • It takes more than 3 days to disappear;
  • It arises with other symptoms like fever above 38ºC or difficulty to swallow;
  • It is accompanied by swelling in the whole face or in other places of the body.

In these cases the doctor may clear the airway to facilitate breathing, and if necessary use medication, but it may also be helpful to have blood and allergy tests to identify what has left the mouth swollen so that it does not happen again.

Did you like what you read?   
Yes  /  No

If you have any questions or if you found any spelling errors, please inform us, so we can improve! We will not answer you directly, however if you have a question that needs to be answered, please click here Contact.

Send Carregando elementos na página
More on this subject:

Please, ask away

It's time to answer all your questions
Select the check box above.
Send message