Amitabh Bachchan asks why biting tongue hurts but not when done intentionally


By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |

Published: May 26, 2020 3:00:14 pm


amitabh bachchan, tongue biting Amitabh Bachchan is curious to know why it does not hurt when we bite our tongue intentionally. (Source: amitabhbachchan/Instagram, Getty images; image designed by Gargi Singh)

Amitabh Bachchan just took to Instagram to point out something that many of us may also be curious to know about. “I don’t know why it hurts when we bite our tongue mistakenly. But it didn’t (doesn’t) hurt when we bite it intentionally,” he wrote in an Instagram post.

Take a look at the actor’s post below:

But it seems like the Gulabo Sitabo actor is not the first one to wonder about this. One comes across threads on Reddit and Quora where people have explained why it hurts when you bite your tongue accidentally but not when you do it intentionally. For instance, Dr Shubham Agarwal, MMBS, AIIMS, New Delhi, writes on Quora that when you bite your tongue accidentally, the force applied is less as compared to when you bite consciously. “When the tongue is bitten accidentally, the damage is swift and more severe, resulting in a deep cut with more tissue damage. This damage stimulates nerve endings resulting in pain perception.”

He adds, “It is not possible to inflict pain upon oneself, intentionally, to such a magnitude so as to create similar damage. It is a natural defence of the body to prevent tissue damage. Voluntary muscles involved in biting will reflexly stop on pain perception thus rendering it impossible to hurt oneself to such an extent.”

Read| How our tongue saves itself when we chew

Dr Swati Mohan, senior consultant-dermatology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, corroborated in a conversation with indianexpress.com, “When we bite out tongue intentionally, we are conscious of our threshold of pain. As we start registering the pain, we stop. So the tongue will not be hurt or bleed. But when we bite our tongue accidentally, we are not able to consciously monitor how much we may bite. Tongue is a very complicated part of the human body with at least 8000 motor units, which help move this single muscle. This might explain why the tongue is so flexible, and can hurt so much when injured.”

Biting your tongue accidentally is not uncommon, specially when chewing as the tongue shares mouth space with the teeth. Tongue biting can also happen during sleep, seizure, playing sports, in the course of a traumatic event or due to stress.

Read| Can you tell if you have a healthy tongue?

Tongue biting commonly leads to minor injuries although sometimes the impact can be severe. The healing time for tongue bite depends on the severity of the injury.

How to treat tongue biting

For a minor injury, you can apply ice pack at the site of the injury. Eat foods that are soft and easy to swallow. Consult a doctor if the bleeding from the injury does not stop or there are any signs of infection, according to Healthline.

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