Cheek biting is something almost all of us have experienced at one time or another. If it occurs once in a while it's ok but it becomes a concern if it is more frequent and starts affecting your quality of life. To learn how to stop it you must know what causes cheek biting. The most common causes are:
· Accidental: When you don’t pay enough attention to chewing while eating and are busy somewhere else mostly talking or reading you can accidently bite your cheek.
· Misalignment of teeth: Misalignment of your natural permanent teeth or false teeth not properly aligned may lead to chronic cheek biting as when misaligned teeth do not close
properly the brain tries to fill the gap by putting your cheek in between.
· Stress/Anxiety related cheek biting: This is quite common and is difficult to treat. Some people bite their cheeks/lips when they are stressed or nervous and once an area is bitten it becomes prone to repeated bites. It is just like people bite their nails under stress.
How to stop/Treatment
1. Paying more attention to chewing and avoid talking while eating is a simple step that can prevent most of the accidental cheek bites.
2. If you think you bite your cheek as a routine you must seek medical attention. Make an appointment with your dentist and get your dental evaluation done for any misaligned teeth or any other causes. Depending on the cause the treatment options can be tooth extraction if the wisdom tooth is not in normal position causing trouble to the cheek, use of braces for correcting the misalignment, laser treatment when cheek tissues have become hard as a result of chronic biting or enameloplasty to smooth out rough/sharp edges of teeth.
3. If you think you bite your cheeks when you are nervous or stressed you can help yourselves by finding a good substitute for example chewing gums may be of some help or you can try lip balm or gloss if you bite your lips as well. Sometimes psychiatric counselling sessions may be required to quit cheek biting.
Possible complications could be:
· Mouth sores and ulcers difficult to treat
· Associated problems for example headaches etc
Cheek biting should never be ignored. Timely intervention and complete treatment is absolutely necessary to prevent any relapses.