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Is it true that bite tongue can commit suicide?

Is it true that bite tongue can commit suicide? we often see in martial arts movies or novels that a person is caught and kills himself by biting his tongue down for the sake of death, so we have the theory of biting his tongue to kill himself. Most of the time, we believe that biting his tongue to kill himself is true, but just think about it, if we eat carelessly and bite his tongue to death, we really can bite (before people die Instinct for survival? Now let's make a scientific judgment on whether biting the tongue can really commit suicide.


The causes of death of "bite the tongue and commit suicide" spread on the Internet can be classified into three categories, i.e., "death by pain", "blood loss" and "suffocation". In fact, none of this is likely to happen. In contrast, only because of the bleeding, blood into the lungs, leading to asphyxia is theoretically the most likely way to die; but in fact, there are few cases of real tongue biting death. However, accidental tongue breaking is not terrible, and there will be no major danger. Moreover, the replantation of tongue breaking is very mature.

A few days ago, Mr. Liu, who lives in Kunming, encountered a painful and fearful incident. The reason for this is a bowl of fried rice noodles. It turns out that Mr. Liu bought a bowl of rice noodles for his daughter while driving her out. When his daughter was eating rice noodles in the back seat, Mr. Liu's foot slammed on the brakes, making her daughter suddenly unable to crash into the front seat, and even snapped her tongue in half! Fortunately, due to the timely delivery of the doctor, the girl's speaking ability is now recovering.

Seeing this scene, many people can't help but think of the scene of "bite your tongue and commit suicide" in martial arts novels. And this impression also made Mr. and Mrs. Liu worried for a long time after the incident. So, can "bite the tongue" really do "suicide"? How to deal with the accident of tongue breaking?

Basic features of tongue

Before we talk about 'biting the tongue to commit suicide', we should first understand which features of the tongue may cause 'fatal' factors. Tongue, known as tongue in medicine, is a flesh and muscle organ in human oral cavity. Its surface is covered with epithelial tissue containing taste receptors. The inner part of the tongue has several muscle bundles which are independent of each other and have different directions, so that the tongue can make flexible leaning, rolling, warping and other activities, so that it can assist in chewing, stirring, swallowing food, and voice production and other functions. These muscles are called intrinsic lingual muscles.

In addition, the tongue has several muscles in the mouth to help it fix in the mouth. These muscles are called extralingual muscles. The lower part of the tongue is connected to the mandible by the genioglossus, the lateral part is connected to the styloid process of the temporal bone by the styloid process tongue muscle, and the base part is connected to the hyoid bone by the hyoid tongue muscle. Here, genioglossus is the most powerful muscle.

In addition to muscles, the tongue is also rich in nerve and vascular tissue. The nerves in the tongue include the hypoglossal nerve which controls the movement of lingual muscles, the glossopharyngeal nerve which senses the taste and touch of the posterior part of the tongue, and the lingual nerve which is divided from the trigeminal nerve which is responsible for the taste and touch of the anterior part of the tongue. In addition to the abundant capillaries in the tongue, the larger vessels include the deep lingual artery, the dorsal lingual vein and the deep lingual vein. The two thick and blue blood vessels we see in the lower part of the tongue are actually the deep vein of the tongue flowing with venous blood.

It's hard to bite your tongue and commit suicide

Based on the basic structure of the tongue described above, let's examine the possibility of 'biting the tongue to commit suicide'. The causes of death of "bite the tongue and commit suicide" spread on the Internet can be classified into three categories, i.e., "death by pain", "blood loss" and "suffocation".

The main reason for "painful death" is that "neurogenic shock" is caused by great pain when biting the tongue, which eventually leads to "disorder of respiratory system and circulatory system". However, this reason cannot be established. First of all, there are problems in the understanding of 'neurogenic shock' in this reason. Although 'neurogenic shock' can be simply understood as' shock caused by nervous system stimulation ', it is by no means' painful death'. Neurogenic shock is mainly the shock caused by the sudden stimulation of environmental factors, which causes the sympathetic nerve to lose its ability of control or parasympathetic nerve to be excited abnormally, which results in the relaxation of peripheral blood vessels, the increase of human blood volume, the decrease of effective blood flow, and the relative ischemia of the body. Neurogenic shock usually occurs in brain and spinal cord injury, or when cardiovascular receptors suffer from severe stimulation (such as severe compression of carotid sinus and precordial area), and the pain caused by trauma often excites the sympathetic nerve of human body, thus entering the state of stress, and it is difficult to produce the inhibition of sympathetic nerve. Secondly, some "pain halos" caused by pain are actually caused by the insufficient blood supply to the brain caused by the over excitation of sympathetic nerves. This syncope usually recovers in tens of seconds and is not life-threatening. In some cases called "neurogenic shock death" or "inhibition death" in forensic identification, the dead usually have cardiovascular or nervous system diseases. Therefore, for normal people 'biting the tongue', if they commit suicide, they need great willpower and mental concentration. At this time, the sympathetic nerve is in an excited state; for the tongue rupture caused by accident, severe pain also often causes the excitement of the sympathetic nerve. Therefore, these conditions are difficult to cause 'neurogenic shock', let alone death.

The reason for the "blood loss theory" is very straightforward, that is, the tongue contains a large number of capillaries and several relatively thick arteries and veins, so you will die of blood loss after biting the tongue. But common sense will tell that this reason is not true. The total amount of blood in human body is about 4-5 liters, and the amount of blood loss is more than 30%, that is to say, more than 1.5 liters may endanger life. And depending on the blood vessels in the tongue to lose 1.5 liters of blood, it takes enough time to coagulate and stop bleeding. It can be seen from this that unless it is hemophilia patients, it is impossible to rely on blood loss to 'bite the tongue and commit suicide', not to mention the scene of 'one bite and death' in martial arts novels.

The "suffocation theory" can be divided into three kinds of theories: one is that the severed tongue is swallowed, leading to "choking", the other is that the severed tongue root will "shrink into the throat" leading to suffocation, and the third is that the outflow of blood into the trachea leads to suffocation. The first reason is that the tongue is an organ to assist swallowing, so the severed tongue will be swallowed due to the loss of swallowing function. However, when you think about it carefully, if you want to kill yourself by biting your tongue, or if you accidentally bite your tongue, then the severed end of the tongue is located on the outside of the front teeth, then the probability of falling out of the mouth is much higher than that of being 'swallowed'. Moreover, even if the broken tongue is swallowed, it is likely to enter the esophagus rather than the trachea. As for the second statement, it is also difficult to be true. Because the part of the tongue is the free end of the front, and the rest of the back of the tongue, its lower side is pulled by the developed genioglossus muscle in the direction of the mandible, so it is difficult to 'shrink into the throat'. For the third statement, if the blood can fully block the respiratory tract, the amount of bleeding, although far less than 'blood loss death', is still considerable, and it will take a long time to achieve.

Therefore, compared with the above possible principle of "bite the tongue and commit suicide", we can see that none of the above methods can cause the "one bite to death" in martial arts novels, even the possibility of death is very low. In contrast, there is only one last way in which blood can enter the lungs due to bleeding, leading to asphyxiation and death. In fact, there are very few cases of accidental rupture of tongue and self mutilation of tongue biting recorded in the literature, and only one case of "self suicide of tongue biting" occurred in a mental patient. The cause of death was asphyxia caused by hemorrhage and swelling of the tongue.

Accidental tongue breaking is not terrible

From the above analysis, it can be seen that "bite the tongue and commit suicide" is almost an impossible task. But the tongue breaking accident caused by accident is not terrible. The good prognosis of the little girl at the beginning is an example.

The mechanical injury of tongue is usually bite, sharp cut, tear, etc. As the tongue is a muscle organ with strong regeneration ability, slight wounds, fractures and defects can self heal only by proper hemostasis and anti-inflammatory measures. For the more serious deep fissure, laceration or even complete disconnection, it is necessary to keep the head in the horizontal or prone position to prevent the blood from flowing into the throat leading to asphyxia, and at the same time, it is necessary to send the patient to a doctor in time for suturing and bandaging. As long as the treatment is timely, it usually will not leave a big sequela. In case of complete tongue disconnection and falling out of the mouth, the head position of the injured person shall also be maintained first, and then the severed limbs shall be stored and transported in a similar way (i.e. wrapped with clean and dry gauze or other cloth, sealed in a clean plastic bag, cooled with ice, etc.), and replanted in time. As long as appropriate measures are taken, a considerable degree of functions can still be recovered. As early as 1975, tongue replantation was successfully carried out for 3 hours in vitro at 39 ℃ in China, which shows that the medical measures after accidental tongue disconnection are very perfect and mature.

However, although the medical technology is developed, tongue trauma will still cause some time and degree of pain to the injured. Therefore, it is necessary to prevent tongue injury. In addition to the violent factors, tongue trauma is usually caused by accidental stumbling, falling, impact, etc. Therefore, when walking up and down stairs, try not to eat while walking. When eating on vehicles, protective measures should be taken, such as fastening the seat belt, to avoid accidents caused by sudden collision or braking. At the same time, for patients with mental illness, family members and other caregivers should also strengthen management to avoid accidents caused by patients' illness.