Whether it’s your lip, your cheeks, or your tongue, biting the tissues in and around your mouth is a troublesome habit for many. Mostly brought on by stress or as a nervous habit, cheek or lip biting can be hard to break.
When you bite the inside of your lip or cheek and traumatise the area, it becomes inflamed and swells up slightly. This small swelling causes the area to be more likely to get hit again and again. This can cause a traumatic ulcer with a repeated and sustained injury.
Causes for Biting your Lip
If you’re a chronic nibbler, the cause may be nerve related and should be resolved through actively recognising when you do it and working consciously to stop it. Sometimes, a bite to the oral tissues is accidental, typically occurring when trying to multitask eating and talking. Although we all know how painful it can be, the occasional bite usually isn’t a big deal and should heal on its own.
However, there are times when lip or cheek biting can be unavoidable. An abundance of accidental bites could be a sign of something more serious like a misaligned bite (malocclusion) or even TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). When teeth don’t align properly, the likelihood of your cheek, lip, or tongue getting in between them increases.
Why can Biting be Bad for You
No matter what the underlying cause is, biting any part of the mouth hurts! And the discomfort sometimes lasts much longer than the initial zing of pain upon contact. What’s more, after a bite, a mouth sore usually develops. These sores can become infected if proper oral hygiene isn’t maintained, and infection in the mouth is never a good thing. If malocclusion is the main cause behind your accidental bites, a whole host of other potential problems can arise including headaches, tooth shifting, and jaw pain.
How to Stop the Biting
Like we’ve discussed, if you’ve identified your biting as a nervous habit, try to work at stopping it consciously. Also chew more deliberately and pay attention while eating to reduce the chance of sustaining an injury. If this is an ongoing problem, talk with your dentist at Corne Smith Dentistry to determine if your bite may be misaligned.