What heals faster eye or mouth?

The eyes and the mouth are two of the most sensitive areas of the human body. Both contain soft tissue that is prone to injury, but which one heals faster? There are several factors that influence healing times for injuries to the eyes and mouth. These include the type and severity of injury, age and overall health of the person, and how the injury is treated. Generally minor injuries to the surface of the eyes or mouth heal within a week or two. More severe trauma involving deeper structures may take much longer.

Anatomy of the Eye

The eye is a complex organ with multiple components that allow us to see. The visible part includes the sclera (white part), cornea (clear front layer), iris (colored part), pupil (dark center opening), and conjunctiva (thin tissue covering white part of eye). In addition there is the lens which focuses light and the retina which receives images and sends signals to the brain through the optic nerve. The eye is well protected by the bones of the skull and eyelids/eyelashes. But the cornea and conjunctiva have many nerve endings and are very sensitive. Even small injuries can be painful.

Anatomy of the Mouth

The mouth is the opening to the digestive system and allows us to eat, drink, speak, and breathe. It contains the lips, teeth, gums, cheeks, palate (roof of mouth), tongue, and openings to salivary glands. The lips transition to a mucous membrane lining the inner cheeks and continue to the rest of the gastrointestinal tract. This lining is very sensitive to touch, temperature, and chemicals. The tongue also contains many nerve endings for taste and sensation. There are blood vessels throughout the soft tissues of the mouth. Injuries involving any of these structures can be very uncomfortable.

Types of Eye Injuries

Some common types of minor eye injuries include:

Corneal Abrasion

A corneal abrasion is a scratch on the surface of the clear cornea, often caused by a foreign object like a speck of dirt or contact lens. It is extremely painful due to exposed nerve endings. Mild abrasions can heal within 24-72 hours if kept clean.


Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, involves inflammation and swelling of the conjunctiva. It is commonly caused by viruses, bacteria, or allergens. Viral and allergic conjunctivitis often clear up on their own within 1-3 weeks. Bacterial conjunctivitis requires prescription antibiotic eye drops to resolve.

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

This is bleeding under the conjunctiva, making the white part of the eye appear very red. It can be caused by coughing, sneezing, eye rubbing, trauma, or high blood pressure. The blood is slowly reabsorbed by the body over 1-2 weeks.

More severe eye injuries that may require surgery and extensive healing time include:

Corneal Ulcer

A corneal ulcer is an open sore on the cornea, allowing infection and extensive damage. They are often caused by trauma, contact lens overwear, or eye disease. Corneal ulcers must be treated aggressively with antibiotic drops to prevent vision loss. Complete healing can take several weeks.


Hyphema describes bleeding within the front chamber of the eye between the cornea and iris. It is most often caused by blunt trauma to the eye. The blood will usually reabsorb on its own over 1-2 months. But in some cases surgery may be needed to drain the blood and prevent high eye pressure and glaucoma.

Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment happens when the retinal tissue separates from the back wall of the eye. This can occur after trauma, eye surgery, aging, or due to medical disorders like diabetes. Detached retinas must be repaired surgically with laser or cryotherapy techniques. Vision recovery is dependent on how quickly treatment is obtained.

Corneal Laceration

A laceration is a deep cut through the cornea, which may cause significant eye structure damage and vision loss. These injuries require emergency surgery to properly align the corneal tissue and close the wound. Complete healing of the cornea can take 4-6 weeks.

Types of Mouth Injuries

Common minor mouth injuries include:

Canker Sore

Canker sores are small ulcers on the soft tissues of the mouth, especially the cheeks or tongue. They are not contagious and their exact cause is unknown. Canker sores usually heal within 1-2 weeks with proper oral hygiene.

Cold Sore

Also called fever blisters, cold sores are small, painful fluid-filled blisters around the lips and mouth caused by the herpes simplex virus. They may burst and crust over within a week. Prescription antiviral creams can help reduce healing time.


Minor burns from hot foods or liquids can damage the lining of the mouth. Proper wound care and pain relief can promote healing within 7-10 days. Severe mouth burns require emergency medical care.

Cheek Biting

Some people develop a habit of biting their inner cheeks. This can produce sores and swelling that heal slowly due to repeated aggravation. Stopping the behavior is key to allowing full healing within a week or two.

More significant injuries of the mouth include:

Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a collection of pus caused by a bacterial infection within a tooth, root, or the gums. Abscesses are very painful until drained and treated with antibiotics. Healing depends on the size of the abscess; larger ones may take several weeks.

Tooth Fracture

Cracked or fractured teeth from injury require dental procedures like crowns or root canals to restore structure and prevent loss of the tooth. Healing times vary based on the type of repair needed but may take a few months.

Oral Lacerations

Deep cuts within the mouth often involve damage to the gums, lips, or tongue. Stitches are typically required for proper alignment and closure. Healing takes 1-2 weeks but may result in permanent scarring.

Jaw Fracture

Broken jaws from trauma require stabilization with wiring or plates and screws. This allows the bone fragments to unite over about 6 weeks. Additional healing time is needed before normal chewing is possible.

Factors that Influence Healing of Eye and Mouth Injuries

There are several factors that affect how quickly injuries to the eyes and mouth will heal:

Type and Severity of Injury

Minor abrasions and burns heal faster than lacerations, fractures, and injuries involving deeper structures. The more extensive the damage, the longer the healing duration.


Younger people tend to heal faster due to excellent blood supply and higher cell turnover for skin and soft tissue regeneration. Older individuals heal more slowly.

Overall Health

Chronic diseases like diabetes can compromise circulation and wound healing. Other factors like smoking, alcoholism, and poor nutrition also slow the body’s ability to repair injuries. A strong immune system promotes faster healing.


The location of the injury also plays a role. The cornea heals differently than the conjunctiva. Injuries under constant strain from movement or chewing may take longer to heal than more protected areas.

Treatment Received

Appropriate medical treatment speeds healing. For example, antibiotics for infections, stitches for deep wounds, tooth extraction of abscessed teeth, etc. Proper wound care at home is also very important.


Some habits can delay healing or cause reinjury. Eye rubbing after an abrasion or biting an injured inner cheek are examples. Breaking these habits is beneficial.

Comparison of Healing Times

On average, minor injuries to the surface of the eye or mouth heal faster than more significant trauma to deeper structures:

Eye Injuries Healing Time
Corneal abrasion 24-72 hours
Minor conjunctivitis 1-3 weeks
Subconjunctival hemorrhage 1-2 weeks
Mouth Injuries Healing Time
Canker sore 1-2 weeks
Minor burns 7-10 days
Cheek biting 1-2 weeks

More significant injuries like corneal ulcers, dental abscesses, fractures, and lacerations often take from 2-6 weeks or longer depending on severity and treatment.

Overall, minor mouth injuries seem to take slightly longer to heal compared to similar superficial eye injuries. But severe trauma to the eye generally requires very lengthy recovery times and can permanently impact vision.

Treatment to Promote Faster Healing

There are some general treatment strategies that can support faster healing of injuries to the eyes and mouth:

Proper Wound Care

Gently cleaning wounds using sterile saline solution and providing protection with bandages helps create optimal healing conditions. Any foreign material should be removed from the wound.

Infection Control

The use of appropriate antiseptics and antibiotics prevents pathogens from further infecting the area and slowing natural healing processes.

Inflammation Reduction

Using cold compresses, anti-inflammatory medications, and avoiding additional trauma can help control inflammation that delays healing.

Medical Procedures

Timely suturing, tooth extraction, drainage of abscesses, or other procedures promote healing compared to leaving significant wounds open.

Healthy Lifestyle

Eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, avoiding harmful habits like smoking, and getting adequate sleep provide the body with resources to heal efficiently.

Follow Up Care

Making sure to complete all follow up exams and treatments as recommended by eye doctors or dentists/oral surgeons is key to optimal recovery.


In general, the eyes and mouth are delicate areas of the body that heal relatively quickly from minor surface injuries. However, more extensive damage involving deeper structures may result in prolonged recovery periods of several weeks to months. Appropriate medical treatment and healthy lifestyle choices can help expedite healing following trauma to either location. With proper care, full function and aesthetics of the eyes and mouth can be restored.

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