Cheek biting is actually a thing! For some, their cheek biting occurs randomly, often from trying to “multitask” (think chewing gum and talking at the same time) or eating food too quickly.
For others, biting their cheek – and we mean the inside of their cheek! – can be chronic, perhaps from a nervous habit (providing the same comfort as biting one’s nails or chewing one’s hair) or physiological (such as a jagged or loose tooth that keeps hitting that sweet spot every time you try to chew).
Sometime the easiest remedy to prevent chewing on your cheeks is to slow it all down. Focus on deliberate, rhythmic chewing; practice chewing on the other side of your mouth; be sure to speak only between bites. For fast eaters/multitaskers, an occasional cheek/lip bite is usually not a cause for concern.
On the other hand, chronic cheek biting could be psychological – a subtle nervous habit that goes unnoticed to the casual onlooker. While the cheek biter attempts to present an aura of calm, on the inside, nervous energy and anxiety may be manifesting in the form of gnawing on an ever-festering sore in the mouth. If this is the case, you may consider seeing a therapist to get to the root of your anxiety, or try to focus on other, less destructive habits such as using a stress ball or practicing deep breathing techniques.
If the cause of your lip or cheek biting is physiological, such as the misalignment of your teeth, or TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder), then you may require an entirely different approach, most likely through medical intervention.
Even if you try hard to not bite your cheek or lip, every time you do you are creating a deeper sore that will take longer to heal, and certainly will remove any joy you would have otherwise when drinking orange juice or eating chips with spicy salsa. Should the bite become infected, you could end up damaging or even losing your teeth or part of your jaw. Absolute worst-case scenario, some mouth lesions, left unattended, could leave a patient more susceptible to developing oral cancers. (Again, worse-case scenario, and there are many other factors involved such as heredity and whether you smoke or use smokeless tobacco.)
Taking the Bite out of Cheek Bites
As mentioned previously, cheek biters who do so out of nervous habit can seek therapy or try any number of therapeutic substitutions ranging from sucking on sugarless mints or hard candy, to doodling in a notepad. The biggest step is changing any habits or routines that lead to the destructive activity, in this case, cheek biting.
For those suffering from misalignment, TMJ, migraines, damaged crowns and implants, or shifting teeth, it’s best to seek out a dental professional. In some cases, biting your cheek or lip could be the side effect of a more serious dental condition that needs attention. The friendly staff at Dedicated Dental is happy to help you schedule an appointment or consultation. Call them at 702-551-5199. You can also request an appointment online.