Cheek Biting Causes, Morsicatio Buccarum, How to Stop While it Eating, Sleeping or Anxious

What is cheek biting? Why do people bite the inside of their cheeks or what are some of the causes of cheek biting?? What does it mean when you bite your cheeks? Get more insight on biting inside of cheek (lip chewing) including causes (such as anxiety, misaligned wisdom teeth, compulsive disorder, in sleep, while eating), symptoms, effects, and how to stop how to stop biting your cheek.

Why do I keep biting the inside of my cheek or why do I bite the inside of my cheek? I have read and heard people complain about this problem of cheek biting or chewing. I too have the problem where I keep biting my cheek while eating, nervous and at times when I am sleeping at night. It has not been bothering me until recently when I felt enough is enough.

Cheek Biting Cause, Chronic, in Sleep, Cancer, Habit, OCD, Stop Treatment Morsicatio Buccarum

Cheek Biting photo

Since I don’t like the feeling of a swollen inner cheek from biting, I did some extensive research on various aspects on teeth biting including causes and remedies or treatments to deal with this bad habit I have and I want to share what I found out with you.

It is biting the inside of your cheek or cheek linea alba

Before rushing to conclusion you bite your inner cheek, you need to know that it is normal to have a linea alba which is “a horizontal streak on the inner surface of the cheek, level with the biting plane. It usually extends from the commissure to the posterior teeth and can extend to the inner lip mucosa and corners of the mouth” [].

Linea alba is associated with sucking force from teeth’s facial surface, pressure, frictional irritation, tobacco chewing, etc. and it should not be mistaken by lesion from teeth biting since it does not require any treatment.

Cheek biting symptoms and effects

Some of the common symptoms you expect if you often bite your cheeks include white sore spots or cheek biting sores and  oral lesions (frictional ketosis including canker sores), tenderness, bleeding, scarring, swelling, irregular inner cheek surface, redness, burning sensation on inside of your cheeks, especially where the upper and lower teeth meet.

Is cheek chewing dangerous or not or is it bad to bite your cheek? What are some of the effects of biting the inside of your cheek? Biting inside of cheek is not a life threatening problem but it does have some undesirable effects that include cheek bite infections, swelling, black spots (due to trauma), painful canker sores, black spots, and formation of callus if you keep on biting the same spot among many others.

Cheek biting causes, why do I bite my inner cheeks?

If you suffer from mouth biting, specifically inside of cheek biting, there are many possible causes which include the following:

1. Biting cheek while eating due to careless chewing

Chewing while trying to do something else such as reading (especially reading a newspaper while eating), talking or simply doing something else can make one to bite her or his cheeks. If you have the problem of biting inside of cheek when eating, slow down your eating and be focused. This is one of the causes of accidental cheek biting.

2. Wisdom teeth biting cheek due to teeth misalignment

To some people, biting cheek is not what they would wish to suffer from but it happens due to misalignment of teeth, especially the molars and premolars that do not close properly (teeth misalignment can also be due to missing tooth), due to temporomandibular joint disorder or ill-fitting dentures.

Having misaligned teeth can make someone to develop a psychological problem. This happens when our brains realized and tries to correct it by putting something between your teeth which in most instances ends up being your cheek or lip. This could result in constantly biting cheek or lip biting.

If you have misaligned teeth, go for checkup and correction since it can cause other problems other than biting cheek, lips, gum or mouth in general.

3. Cheek biting habit, anxiety and nervous habits

Nervous or anxiety cheek biting is much like biting nails and its root cause might have nothing to do with misaligned dentures or teeth. It happens unconscious when someone is anxious or nervous.  There are medication that can lead to this anxiety disorder.

Training is required to get rid of such a habit. If you have biting inside of cheek habit, try chewing sugarless gums or anything that will make you realized you are biting them i.e. replacer habit.

4. Accidental cheek biting

Sometimes, your teeth biting might have nothing to do with misaligned teeth or nervous habits but caused by accidents. It is normal to bite your cheeks as you eat especially if you eat quickly, while you are talking, if you are hit on your cheeks, during dental work or tooth extraction, by your dental appliances or piercing.

Ensure the ulcer that results is quickly treated since raises the chances of biting the same spot again especially while it is swollen.

Compulsive cheek biting disorder OCD

If you suffer from compulsive cheek biting, which is a kind of “obsessive compulsive cheek biting disorder where a person compulsively bite their own cheeks” []. In such a case, the patient can feel the pain of biting their cheeks but the stress relief and gratification feeling makes them unable to stop the habit.

Some of the great ways of dealing with compulsive cheek biting include hypnosis, mediation, cognitive behavioral therapy and use of medications.

Biting cheek in sleep at night

Just a teeth grinding, some people have the problem of biting cheek in sleep. This is something that they do unconsciously and they only realize when they wake up in the morning. You will wake up with cheek soreness (hurting pain) and swollen inner cheeks. Sometimes biting cheek in sleep can cause jaw soreness.

The cause cheek biting in sleep has been associated with previous day’s stress. It is advisable to sleep with mouth guards if you do not need to bite your cheeks, tongue, lips, gums or mouth while you are asleep.

Cheek biting cancer, can it cause mouth, cheek or oral cancer?

The discuss on whether biting of cheeks can lead to oral cancer is widespread with some sources refuting the fact while others seem to be supporting the idea while saying it happens in extremely rare cases. For instance according to DR Chaudhary “repeated trauma of bites at the same place can cause infection that leads to cancer” [].

On the other side, some doctors say biting of mouth, lip or cheek cannot cause cancer i.e. “No worries. You may develop some scar tissue, but not cancer. Factors that can contribute to oral cancer include heavy alcohol use, tobacco in all forms including chewing tobacco, and HPV infection” Dr. Forrest Jones, [].

Not to go any further on mouth cancer and mouth biting, according to Dr. Connelly, “Any chronic mouth lesion could develop cancer over the long term, but the research and final word are spotty” [].

Morsicatio buccarum or chronic cheek biting 110 or chewing

Chronic cheek biting, otherwise known as morsicatio buccarum refers to repetitive biting, nibbling or chewing of the inside lining of your cheeks that often cause chronic injury and irritation of the buccal mucosa (lining on your inner cheeks). It might exist with linea alba and it will have white lesions (damaged buccal mucosa lining) “with thickening and shredding of mucosa commonly combined with intervening zones of erythema (redness) or ulceration” [].

It is caused by cheek chewing habit, poor prosthetic teeth construction, and chronic suction of buccal mucosa among other causes.

Morsicatio buccarum can be treated with dental guards i.e. “acrylic prosthesis that covers the biting surfaces of the teeth and protects the cheek, tongue and labial mucosa” [] which should be used for long or short term especially during night sleep to avoid constantly biting cheek.

How to stop biting your cheek, treatments and cures

No one wants to bite their cheeks whether it is when they are eating, sleeping, habitual, caused by oral cancer, accidental, is caused by a disorder, etc. The best way to deal with this problem is knowing what causes it and dealing with the underlying cause. While looking at causes, we already mentioned some treatments or remedies that are related to that cause.

Now, let us look at the general ways to stop biting your cheeks as well as cheek biting treatment and cures that will heal the problem and lesions or wounds that might result.

1. Relaxation therapy and stress management

One of the great cheek biting cure is trying relaxation. It will be effective whether you bite your cheeks out of boredom, anxiety, stress or it a habit as it try to helps attain more calmness while reducing anger, pain, anxiety or stress.  There are many techniques that include deep breathing, Qigong, meditation, Pranayama, Yoga Nidra, visualization, self-hypnosis, biofeedback among others.

2. Mouth guard for biting of inner cheek

These are dental appliances which are worn not to treat but prevent and control this problem. Most of them are removal shields while a few could be permanent.

3. Bite correction and jaw alignment

Surgical and non-surgical bite correction is often recommended to people whose biting of inner cheek is due to crooked teeth especially the molars and premolars. If your jaws are misaligned, they can also be aligned through various procedures that include plastic surgeries.

4. Awareness

You need to be aware of the fact that biting cheek is not healthy and need to be corrected. Once you have the awareness, compliment it with the right treatment depending on the cause.

5. Give distractions

People who have compulsive biting of inside of cheek disorder or those who do it habitually need to be given alternative distractions such as chewing gums or replacement therapies to help deal with this problem.

In addition to this, ensure you eat carefully and slowly if you want to stop accidental cheek biting especially when you are eating, carefully choose your dental appliances and piercings, avoid rubbing or sucking our cheeks against your teeth, and see a dentist for further advice on cheek biting treatment after correct diagnosis.

Treating cheek biting lesion and cheek bite infection

As mentioned earlier, cheek biting can result into sores or lesions that could be painful and encourage further injuries if they are swollen or they could be infected. Some of the ways to treat this lesions include:

  • The first way to How to heal cheek bites Is by swishing a mixture of one part of hydrogen peroxide in about four parts of water (or 3% diluted hydrogen peroxide) will help speed up wound healing. Saline or salty water will also work well.
  • Try using chlorhexidine mouthwash to reduce swelling as well as pain as well as tea tree oil mouthwashes.
  • Dabbing vanilla extract on the affected site
  • Rinse your mouth with a mixture of ½ teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a cup of water or cool chamomile tea.
  • Put aspirin on the infected area and if you have any aching pain, try taking ibuprofen.
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