Many people repeatedly bite their lip (or cheeks or tongue) as a way to deal with nerves or stress. It’s a habit that some may find relieving, although sometimes also painful. However, to your dentist in Hagerstown, constant biting of the soft tissues in the mouth can certainly raise some concern. Let’s take a closer look at lip biting, why we do it, why it’s bad, and how we can stop.
Why is it Bad?
The truth is, biting our lips, cheeks, or tongue may cause more harm than many of us may have ever thought. When we constantly bite these delicate, soft tissues it can cause painful sores. These sores can become infected if not treated or if reopened repeatedly by even more biting. Any infection in the mouth should be considered serious as it can create additional problems. Constant biting can also lead to inflammation, swelling, redness, and of course, pain.
Why Do We Bite in The First Place?
Of course, we’ve all experienced the pain associated with the occasional accidental bite. These one-off bites are usually nothing to be concerned about and typically heal on their own in a few days. However, when biting happens often, we should look further into why.
There are several reasons why someone may bite their lips, cheeks, or tongue a lot. One possible cause of lip biting is psychological — the habitual biting as a response to stress or nervousness we mentioned earlier. Another explanation can be physical in the form of a bad bite. When we don’t purposely bite our lips, cheeks, or tongue, yet find ourselves accidentally doing it a lot while chewing or even talking, our bite can be to blame. Malocclusion, or bad bite, increases the likelihood for our tongue, cheeks, or lips to get stuck in between our upper and lower teeth. The result? A painful chomp to these soft tissues.
Ways to Stop Biting
The best way to stop biting your lips, cheeks, or tongue depends on why it happens.
If the cause of your biting is psychological you can try to:
- Become more aware of when you do it. Knowing your triggers can help you be more conscious of the habits and allow you to work to fix it.
- Find a support system. Talk with trusted friends, co-workers, or family members about your habit and determine a way that they can support you in stopping. It can be as simple as kindly telling you when you’re doing it so you can become more aware.
- Behavior therapy. There are various types of behavior therapy available that can help change habits.
If the cause of your biting is physical, it’s best that you schedule an appointment with your dentist in Hagerstown. Your dental team can help identify if your bite may be causing you to accidentally bite your lip, cheeks, or tongue and discuss the best dental treatment to help you.
If you suffer from chronically biting your cheeks, lips, or tongue, call your Hagerstown dentist so you can start getting some relief or so you can have any existing sores examined or treated before they have a chance to cause bigger, more serious problems.