Can you put superglue on your tongue?
December 9, 2006 5:35 PM   Subscribe

Can you put superglue on your tongue?

I have a cut on the tip of my tongue. A big chunk of my tongue is missing. It starts with like a dead taste bud, but I scrape it with my teeth. It's an obsessive kind of thing. I keep scraping my tongue on my teeth and the cut gets worse.

I'm not sure I can stop scraping it with my teeth. I need an effective way to protect it. I got this stuff called KANKA but it works poorly. It goes on as a liquid and solidifies after a little while. It works to help stop me from scraping it but it isn't very hard or protective and comes off after a short time and so I have to use it frequently, even though the directions say like once every 4 hours. Sometimes it gets in my mouth or throat and it tastes terrible. Almost makes me throw up.

I was trying to repair a broken USB thumb drive using superglue and I got some on my fingers. It sealed solid on my fingers. So I'm wondering...

Could I put superglue on my tongue? To fill the gap of the wound? Then maybe I can't mess with it and maybe it will heal up eventually.

Of course, I'm worried about getting my tongue stuck to my mouth or swallowing superglue, or something bad like that.

Would attempting this be really dangerous??? Can superglue poison me?

I read somewhere it was originally invented for medical purposes, sealing wounds...

What do you think? Anyone know for sure?

This has happened to me before a few times and it takes weeks to heal. Its never been this bad before though... When I kiss my wife she can feel the hole in my tongue.

Help me! : )
posted by doomtop to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
well i have no idea about the safety other than what you might get from reading the lable (does it say nontoxic or does it give instructions for calling poison control?), but i must say this sounds like something i would do, so i'm interested to hear what people have to say and if you do it, how it turns out. good luck.
posted by teishu at 5:38 PM on December 9, 2006

Superglue has been used as an emergency bandaid more than once. It's supposedly non-toxic and works well to hold cut flesh together.

I don't know about putting it in your mouth though. I'd probably advise contacting a dentist and see what they recommend.
posted by quin at 5:43 PM on December 9, 2006

I read somewhere it was originally invented for medical purposes, sealing wounds...

This part, at least, is true. I've seen it used in animal surgery and it really was just the stuff from the supermarket. You'd want to be sure yours is real, tradional super glue (so read the label) and not some more moder possibly-toxic variant.

But putting it on the tongue, I'm not sure. It's used for sealing edges rather than filling in gaps and I don't know how putting it into your mouth would change things. Personally I'd be tempted...
posted by shelleycat at 5:43 PM on December 9, 2006

This idea strikes me as crazy. You really need to see a doctor for this. Be very careful with what you put in your mouth.
posted by lunchbox at 5:44 PM on December 9, 2006

From Wikipedia:
Studies have shown that methyl-2-cyanoacrylate (SuperGlue and KrazyGlue) degrade fairly rapidly upon contact with living tissue. This leads to the release of formaldehyde and a toxic response. 2-octyl cyanoacrylate degrades much more slowly due to its longer organic backbone which slows the degradation of the adhesive enough to remain below the threshold of tissue toxicity. Due to these toxicity issues, 2-octyl-cyanoacrylate is used for sutures.

Cyanoacrylates give off vapor which is irritating to eyes, mucous membranes and respiratory system. ACGIH assign a Threshold Limit Value exposure limit of 0.2 parts per million. On rare occasions inhalation may cause asthma.
Additionally, the rapid polymerization releases a fairly large amount of heat, which could cause mild burns.

So the answer is yes, you could probably use it once or twice without major problems, but prolonged exposure is definitely a bad idea.

That said, there has to be a better way.
posted by chrisamiller at 5:50 PM on December 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'd be concerned about fumes having such close access to your mucus membranes and your lungs. I would not do this. Put a rubber band around your wrist to remind yourself to stop messing with it and visit your local healthcare provider - interesting history for superglue aside.
posted by dog food sugar at 5:51 PM on December 9, 2006

sorry for spelling error above....
posted by dog food sugar at 5:52 PM on December 9, 2006

Split fingernails are a semi-common injury in baseball pitchers, and the remedy of choice is superglue. So putting it on your fingers = okay.

I realize that doesn't really help you, but there you are.

Personally, I would figure out a way to stop scraping my tongue on my teeth. But that's just me.
posted by rocketman at 5:53 PM on December 9, 2006

They make topical anesthetics for use after dental surgeries, can't remember what the brand name is though. You can buy them over the counter. It comes in a small blue and white tube. Try that, itll numb your mouth for about 30-40mins.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:55 PM on December 9, 2006

In a moment of pure brilliance, while trying to glue whatever happened to be broken, I didn't understand the whatever-pen-tip-applicator on this particular bottle of superglue.

It simply wouldn't work. Of course I determined the applicator tip was a cap that needed to be removed, and it was merely glued stuck. Superglue does that, right? So of course I bit it and--Yes you can superglue your tongue. I removed what I could with nail polish remover (ouch) and the rest wore off over the better part of a week. Not recommended.

Why does superglue take hours to dry on plastic and 0.2 seconds to dry on skin?
posted by vaportrail at 5:57 PM on December 9, 2006

I REALLY thought I was the only one with this problem (The grinding of the tongue against the teeth, not the superglue).

This started to happen to me when I was wicked stressed about leaving a job to start my own business. It comes back when I'm overstressed.

Mine started out as an irritation, and then turned into a white lump on the tongue from too much scraping, then it started to open.

I can understand why you're willing to try ANYTHING. This problem is SO painful and you always feel like there's nothing you can do about it.

Nuff about that. What I did was to get one of those hockey teeth guards. The smoothest one I could find anywhere. I formed it to my teeth and started wearing it as often as I could. Sitting at my desk, driving home, sleeping (this was tough but you get used to it). Anytime I wasn't actively talking to someone I was wearing it. After several days (yours may last a lot longer since your damage seems worse) it was completely gone and I had also stopped scraping. I DID scrape my tongue against the guard but it caused no irritation, at least no where near the irritation that my teeth did.

The reason I started scraping was due to stress, the reason I kept on scraping was because of habbit and irritation. Kind of like scratching chicken pox. You don't want to but you have to.

I feel your pain. GIve this a shot.
posted by Thrillhouse at 5:58 PM on December 9, 2006

I wouldn't use superglue; I have a friend who attempted using superglue on some nasty cut on his hand -- it apparently burned like hell for hours and may have promoted some sort of infection. (Not an awful one -- just the standard undue redness around some cuts that happens when, say, you don't use a bandaid. Or when you fill them with superglue :) The cut eventually healed; He didn't have to go to the doctor and didn't need his hand amputated or anything, but it seems like the glue caused more harm than good and definately didn't accelerate the healing process.

There are some "Liquid Bandage" products from bandaid that seem to do the same thing as the superglue would (but are more sanitary and claim not to sting). Apparently they're also non-toxic, fragrance-free, and waterproof. Which is good for tongue use. Link.

One of the products on that page says it fills in cracks, which is sort of like filling in a tongue hole. The FAQ and info for dermatoligists has some good into too.

I'd say give those a try. Just make sure your tongue is as dry as possible before applying it, and keep your tongue stuck out while it's drying. Since it's non-toxic, it seems like the worst that will happen is that it won't stick. (But, I'm not an MD so don't take anything I say seriously, etc. etc.)
posted by sentient at 6:13 PM on December 9, 2006

Based on the information posted by chrisamiller above I'm changing my vote to no, no superglue on your tongue. Because formaldehyde and mucous membranes really don't mix even in small quantities. I know this from experience, you really don't want to.

Teething gels like Bonjella and Oraced gel have anaesthetic action and are great for when I've bitten the inside of my lip. Talk to a pharmacist, I bet they can give you something better than what you're currently using to stop the irritation and promote healing.
posted by shelleycat at 6:16 PM on December 9, 2006

Yes, but don't do it yourself!! There exists a 'medical form of superglue' that is used to seal up cuts that are too big for a band aid but too small for stiches. When I was a kid a dcotor glued up a bad cut over my eye at the hospital. So go see a doctor and maybe they can hook you up with the magic stuff, but putting hardware store glue in your mouth is not a good idea!
posted by The Wig at 6:19 PM on December 9, 2006

What you want is Dermabond or Vetbond - these are cyanoacrylate glues made for surgical use. Vetbond is much cheaper and almost as good.

Not sure about using it on your tongue, but what the hell, it won't kill you.
posted by nicwolff at 7:27 PM on December 9, 2006

I don't know about the safety, but given what your described I think super glue would actually make it worse. You would probably end up rubbing your tongue raw because of the novelty of hard plastic like sensation against your teeth.
posted by substrate at 7:30 PM on December 9, 2006

I recently used superglue to seal up a knife cut on one of my fingers.

While it worked well and the cut is nearly healed, I had problems resisting the urge to pick it off. By the end of the day, the edges of the glue would flake up and then I'd end up peeling everything off as if it were a clear scab. I had to reapply the glue every day for the three days I needed the mobility in my finger a bandage could not afford.

I'd imagine if I had the same or a similar substance on my tongue, I'd work even harder to peel it off. If your tongue scraping is an obsessive thing, maybe you need to do the mouth guard suggestion.
posted by Sangre Azul at 8:15 PM on December 9, 2006

There are actual medicines made for this. I reccomend Zilactin-B, I use it a lot.
posted by jesirose at 8:56 PM on December 9, 2006

Why does superglue take hours to dry on plastic and 0.2 seconds to dry on skin?
Because plastic is dry and skin is moist. Superglue sets as a reaction with water, not air.
posted by fvw at 11:20 PM on December 9, 2006

T.D. Strange is probably talking about Bonjela. I love that stuff for use on mouth ulcers, but I'm not sure if it would do well on your tongue.

In regard to the "emergency bandaid" uses for superglue, I know a number of skaters who swear by the stuff. They'd be in the emergency room for stitches on a nearly weekly basis if it wasn't for superglue. They tend to carry a tube on them most of the time.
posted by cholly at 3:13 AM on December 10, 2006

I'm coming in a little late to the party, but aside from the question of whether you should or not (no!), the easier reason not to is because it probably wouldn't work very well, if at all.

I have a fair amount of experience using superglue as a first-aid in wound care, and it tends to work very badly, if at all on places that are exceedingly moist. The reason, as stated above, is that cyanoacrylate glue bonds in the presence of moisture. Sounds like it work well, right? Not really. In very moist wounds, the glue just dries up and turns into a crusty layer that flakes off very easily and doesn't seal anything. Too much moisture and the glue just sets without bonding to anything.

So, in addition to all of the good reasons above as to why not to put superglue on your tongue, I'd add the rather simple 'it wouldn't do very much.'
posted by Eldritch at 8:39 AM on December 10, 2006

Nitrogen is what kicks superglue, that is why it bonds skin so well.
posted by hortense at 11:34 AM on December 10, 2006

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