Like most new parents, if you are told your child has a tongue tie, you understandably have lots of questions. What is it? How is it diagnosed? Most importantly, what...
For most of us, biting the inside of our cheeks by accident happens once in a while, and that is normal. But for others, cheek biting is a more common occurrence, and if that’s the case for you, it can be bad for your oral health.
There are many reasons why you might be biting your cheeks. Sometimes this behavior is conscious, and other times you may not even be aware that you are doing it. Let’s take a look at why you may bite your cheeks and how you can put a stop to this potentially destructive habit.
Harmful Effects of Cheek Biting
We all know that when you accidentally bite the inside of your cheek, it can hurt and even cause a laceration. But when does it become a real problem? Chronic or regular cheek biting can cause more extensive damage than the occasional bite. This damage can include painful ulcers, bleeding, infection, scarring, and erosion of the tissue. Inflammation or bumps caused by cheek biting can actually lead to more cheek biting, creating a continuous cycle.
Reasons for Cheek Biting and Treatments
Depending on the reason behind your cheek biting, the treatment that will be most effective may be different.
Accidental Cheek Biting
We all bite our cheeks occasionally on accident, sometimes from chewing food, absentmindedness, or a host of other reasons. But if you bite your cheeks accidentally on a regular basis, there may be an underlying cause.
Often, cheek biting can be a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. When your teeth or jaw are out of place, it makes it more likely that you will bite the inside of your cheeks. If you suspect this may be the case, schedule an appointment with our office before you experience worsening effects. When misalignment causes cheek biting, treatments are available such as jaw alignment or Invisalign. These options are an effective way to correct the underlying issues and end cheek biting.
Dental devices such as braces or bridges can contribute as well. If a device is fitted poorly or is problematic in some other way, it may cause cheek biting or irritation. Your dental device should not cause cheek biting if fitted and functioning properly. See your care provider to investigate further. You may need a new device or adjustment.
Habitual Cheek Biting
Cheek biting can become a habit. Some habits are caused by triggers, for example: boredom. Identifying your triggers and being mindful of cheek biting may be all you need. Another helpful suggestion might be to create a new habit to replace the old one by chewing sugar-free gum instead.
Some people bite or chew on the insides of their cheeks due to stress, anxiety, or even depression. If this might be the case, see your medical doctor. The answer is often to treat the underlying condition, and help is available for these conditions.
Nighttime Cheek Biting
You may wake up and find you have some of the symptoms of cheek biting but no recollection of doing so. This could mean you bite or chew your cheeks in your sleep. Of course, this is an involuntary act, so there is not much you can do about it consciously. An effective way to prevent negative consequences is wearing a night guard. Getting a night guard recommendation from a dentist is a good way to address this issue.
What Should You Do?
If you are concerned you might suffer from chronic cheek biting for any of the reasons above, schedule an appointment with Hoffman Dental Care today. Seeing your dentist is a good first step to determining the extent of your cheek biting and its underlying cause. We can help steer you in the right direction to address this harmful habit.