Cheek Biting: Why and How to Stop It

Some people bite the inner side of their cheek out of habit. Biting inside of cheek eventually causes swelling which makes it more difficult to avoid biting your cheek. To overcome the issue, you need to learn more about its causes and ways to correct the underlying problem.

Why Do I Bite the Inside of My Cheek?

The reasons can be various for different people and the following are some of them.

1. Careless Chewing

Careless chewing is a major cause of cheek biting. It happens when you chew food and start talking to someone else. Reading while chewing food may also lead to cheek biting. Avoid being distracted when chewing to prevent the issue.

2. Stress and Anxiety

You may start biting inside of cheek as a subconscious solution to ease your emotional overload. Some people do this when they are inactive. Sometimes, you start biting your cheek in sleep mainly due to previous day’s stress.  To overcome this compulsive yet self-injurious behavior, try to do something to relax your nerves and do exercises to relieve stress.

3. Teeth Misalignment

Chronic cheek biting may be the result of misaligned teeth. Misaligned teeth don’t close together properly. When your brain becomes aware of this, it tries to put something in between to fill the gap. If that’s the case with you, you often end up biting inside of cheek, lips or tongue. Misaligned teeth cause an occasional accidental nip, but in some cases, they also create a psychological dependency regarding cheek biting.

4. Chronic Cheek Bite Keratosis

Your biting sometimes turns into a body-focused repetitive behavior, like hair pulling, nail biting and excessive blinking. It is also a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder and usually becomes worse with anxiety-related types of problems.

How to Stop Biting Inside of Cheek

Since it’s painful when the inside of your cheek is bitten, here are several methods to stop the behavior.

1. Relaxation Techniques

Try to relax through deep breathing, yoga, meditation, self-hypnosis, visualization, biofeedback or other relaxation techniques. This relieves anxiety, boredom or stress and thus prevents the biting.

2. Mouth Guard

You can also use a mouth guard, a dental appliance used to control cheek biting. Some of these mouth guards can be worn permanently.

3. Bite Correction

If your problem is associated with misaligned teeth, you may have to go for bite correction to stop your behavior. Both surgical and non-surgical bite correction methods are available to correct crooked teeth and molars. Plastic surgery options are also available to correct misaligned jaws.

4. Quit Unhealthy Habits

You should also keep a few important things in mind to prevent cheek biting. For instance, eat slowly and carefully to avoid accidental cheek biting. Also, be careful when selecting dental appliances and piercings. Don’t suck or rub your cheeks against your teeth and follow any advice given by your dentist.

Tips to Heal the Wound of Biting Inside of Cheek

If you’ve bitten inside of your cheekfor quite some time now, you may be looking for ways to heal the wound. Here’s what you can do about it.

1. Wash out Your Mouth

Be sure to wash out your mouth after eating anything. Keep your wound clean by rinsing it with clean water. You can also add one part of hydrogen peroxide in four parts of water and use it to rinse your mouth. This has antibacterial properties and prevents bacterial infections.

2. Apply Pressure at the Wound Site

Applying pressure at the wound site helps stop bleeding. Simply press your tongue against the wound to control bleeding.

3. Apply Something Cold

Apply a cold compress on your wound site for relief. Wrap ice in a cloth and apply it on the wound site for a few minutes for relief.

4. Take a Pain Reliever

You may want to try pain relievers to alleviate pain. Try ibuprofen or aspirin only when analgesics don’t bother you. Using chlorhexidine mouthwash may also help reduce the swelling.

5. Rinse with Salt Water

Take a tablespoon of table salt and dissolve it in a cup of warm water. Use this saline solution to rinse your mouth. This keeps your wound clean and reduces the pain.

5. Avoid Hot Foods

When you have a wound in your mouth, it is better to avoid hot, spicy foods and beverages. Hot food can interrupt the healing process.

When to See Your Doctor

It takes some time for your wound to heal completely. You should avoid poking it with your tongue and chew on the other side of your teeth when eating. It is important to see your doctor if the pain persists even after 24 hours. Also, consult a doctor if you develop a fever, your cheek swells or you notice strange odors coming from the wound. 

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