Ever Wondered Why You Bite the Insides of Your Cheeks?

Portrait of confused girlTwisted lips, contorted mouth; you know the look of someone who is biting the inside of their cheeks when they are stressed. Why do people do that? Most of us understand it as a bad habit similar to nail biting because on the surface, it would seem like a benign repetitive behavior. However, under further consideration, the behavior may be a byproduct of an obsessive and compulsive reaction to stress and anxiety.

The medical term for the behavior is chronic cheek bite keratosis, which is a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) comparable to hair pulling, nail biting, and frequent blinking. It is categorized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) under obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, and is complementary with anxiety-related types of problems. Body-focused repetitive behaviors, such as cheek biting, most often begin in late childhood and can last throughout adulthood.

Since we often cannot escape the stress of daily life and the resultant anxiety associated with it, behaviors such as this manifest as a subconscious solution to ease emotional overload. While not an ideal choice, it does serve a purpose to those who use it as a coping method. Other times, it is common for boredom and inactivity to trigger the behavior. Cheek biting is self-injurious yet compulsive in nature since it feels almost normal and necessary in the mind of the biter. The compulsive nature is what makes it difficult to stop.

Since this behavior usually happens mindlessly, damage to the mouth tissue can occur. It is not uncommon for the biter to bite too deep and injure the mouth. Often, cheek biters have a favorite area to bite and repetitively break the skin in the same place inside the mouth. Whatโ€™s worse is that when the cheek skin has been chewed and is raw, the skin feels broken and jagged, creating an additional compulsion to smooth out the affected area by biting again. This endless cycle can create physical complications only a dentist or oral surgeon can see.

Biting the soft skin inside the cheek over and over again can lead to oral trauma such as mouth sores and ulcers, but is reversible with avoidance of cheek biting, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Whether it is an anxiety-related problem, an obsessive-compulsive issue, or just a bad habit, it is clear that the behavior is not ideal and potentially harmful. However, stopping the biting is a challenge because the biter is not immediately aware of when it is happening and why it is being used as an answer to stress and anxiety. The first line of defense is to lower the affected personโ€™s stress level and provide alternative and healthy anxiety solutions. Stress and anxiety can be lowered multiple ways, most effectively by exercising regularly and eating healthy. After that, removing stressful situations and triggers should be evaluated. Additionally, treatment including mindfulness training and meditation is almost always useful. Learning to be aware and present in each moment allows the person to be in control of behaviors. While easier said than done, mindfulness and meditation are empirically proven to improve mental health.

Often, body-focused repetitive behaviors such as cheek biting respond well to talk therapy that includes techniques drawn from cognitive behavioral therapy and its subcategories dialectical behavior therapy, habit reversal therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy. Although no one approach works for everyone, an eclectic sampling may work well. These therapies are based on the idea that obsessions and compulsions, like body-focused repetitive behaviors, help people experience stress, anxiety, and emotions without reacting negatively to them in the form of a behavior. The goal is to experience life without needing a compulsive outlet, like cheek biting, to handle what comes.

© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Angela Avery, MA, LPC, NCC, therapist in Clarkston, Michigan

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Gil

    June 30th, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    We have had people who come to our office and who are sure that they have some form or oral cancer and ultimately we find out vis conversation with them that this is a perpetual habit and that when they are able to stop this behavior the tissue damage and ulcers go away.

  • Manning

    July 2nd, 2014 at 4:22 AM

    It’s my own little coping mechanism and most of the time when I do it I don’t even know that I am doing it.

    I have never had an issue because of it and have never thought that it is something that I should try to stop doing.

    Another one of those things that is potentially only hurting me so why even think about it? And I mean, it doesn’t even hurt me, so no harm no foul.

  • Kilgore

    October 30th, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    Constantly traumatizing the tissue can cause cancer.

  • Manfred

    May 30th, 2016 at 11:22 PM

    Wonderful. Just ramp up the anxiety why don’t you. If you’re going to fight loose and fast with claims like that, then have the decency to provide quantifying data.

  • Tamika

    July 7th, 2016 at 12:11 PM

    I have heard talk of mouth lesions sometimes being a cause of oral cancer. So that would lead one to think cheek biters may be more susceptible to developing oral cancer. I am not going to go that far โ€” the research on such is somewhat spotty, and really, most of the condemning information that is out there is in the form of discussion forum posts and the like. But still, mouth sores are something you do want to eliminate.

  • Shelley H.

    July 9th, 2016 at 12:27 PM

    Wear this as much as possible and it will go away!! Just keep wearing it until the habit is gone. They are easy convenient and worth the money. Mine is due to stress but this has helped a ton….mine also was mixed with HMS Hot Mouth Syndrome. Yes that is real and it burns in your mouth. Try this if you want help.

    walgreens.com/store/c/dentek-disposable-dental-guards/ID=prod6323988-product?ext=gooPLA_-_Personal_Care&pla&kpid=sku6272653&sst=b655299b-0ce3-4697-9c55-9af780962186&adtype=pla

  • krst

    June 7th, 2016 at 3:25 PM

    ive done that for years not as bad now that im way older! ill do that once in a while. it gives a nice outline of cheekbone.

  • Ray T.

    September 4th, 2016 at 8:18 PM

    Shelley thank you so much for your recommendations. I feel like can break this bad habit like I did others before. Will try it. Thanks

  • BR

    January 9th, 2017 at 8:44 AM

    Started chewing on my cheeks at age 12 when I asked a classmate doing this and asked her what she was doing. It is an incredibly difficult behavior to stop. I did stop it after doing it for about 14 years and didn’t do it for several years. It started up again after a few years and continued for many more years. I finally realized after doing meditation for a few years that I wanted to try using mindfulness practice to deal with it. This works quite well when I can catch myself about to nibble at my cheek or lip again and my main focus of attention is in my body where I feel an emotion that is uncomfortable. By holding my attention on that I am able to relax enough and let the urge to bite just subside by itself. I don’t expect that I will be able to finally vanquish the cheek biting thing forever. However at least I know I have ways to catch myself at it and deal effectively with the source of the urges that underlie them.

  • Julia

    February 13th, 2017 at 6:28 PM

    Im with you! Im only 15 but its a coping system i developed years ago. I decided to look it up because i did it too mush the other night and now my lip is highly infected an swollen. Im probably not going to stop because i dont even notice when im doing it until it starts bleeding which is what recently happened.

  • lilibet

    July 3rd, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    Seriously, it is one of those habits that we don’t even think about while we are doing it, but now I realize that I probably do that much more than I would have thought that I did.

  • rae

    September 11th, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    I started biting my cheecks bc of stress and anxiety now i find my self doing it all the time.

  • Angelina R

    June 8th, 2016 at 9:19 PM

    I just realized that I have this problem as well.. And honestly I’m not even sure how long I’ve been doing this for. I’m going to research ways that I can stop doing this so that I don’t harm my cheeks anymore!! I just hope I’m not biting my cheeks because of stress!?!?

  • bree

    June 17th, 2016 at 5:59 PM

    Mine has gotten so bad I have a little hole in my mouth thats how bad it is I honestly can’t stop it๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  • Mary M

    August 1st, 2016 at 6:35 PM

    Oh my goodness, that sounds severe. I have been chewing since my teens and since my brother died in my Jeep in 2014, I have been worse. Tried gum, mouth guards, even slept with toothpicks. Maybe Botox will help.

  • renee w.

    September 3rd, 2016 at 7:30 PM

    honestly, this is a horrible habit and I really think one of the hardest to stop. Problem is, it looks really ugly when you’re doing it and your mouth skin is sore often because of it. They say to figure out what your triggers are. For me, I quit years ago and would always feel around my mouth with my tongue as a little reward for me, to feel how smooth the skin was. Well… sooner or later I felt a little unevenness that I just couldn’t leave alone. So I started biting again a little, just to “smooth” it out. Well, the WHOLE cycle started all over again from there. It’s been another 10 years and just recently, I finally stopped again. This time I have realized that a HUGE trigger is feeling around mouth and lips with your tongue so I’m just not doing that at all. I’m dieing to feel how smooth the skin is, but I don’t dare. So far, so good. Compulsion is gone.

  • Kaylee

    September 23rd, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    I chew my cheek not even knowing that i do it and I’m not sure how to stop but I now have an indention on the bottom of my mouth and I hate it I don’t know how to get it off anybody know how

  • Rose

    June 16th, 2016 at 5:18 PM

    A way you can stop the cheek biting is to chew on gum. I bite my cheek all the time so I chew on gum and it seems to help

  • Roz

    August 26th, 2016 at 8:12 AM

    Yes, I chew sugarless gum so much to the point it’s like smoking a pack of cigarettes and i don’t smoke. I’ve been enduring this since I was a small child, but I’m not as bad as I used to be. Awareness is everything and utilizing dialectical behavior therapy is beneficial which helps to lessen the OCD and I’m guessing in some situations it eliminate the issue altogether.

  • Dan

    September 26th, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    Is it weird that I like the feeling of biting on my cheeks and lip?

  • Kelly

    October 25th, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    i can’t stand this horrible habit and want to stop. It makes me look so silly having my mouth all twisted all the time:(

  • Vail

    October 26th, 2014 at 5:10 PM

    This sounds exactly like me. My boyfriend was asking about it and I told them I’ve been doing it since middle school, and when I feel the unevenness I have to smooth it out. :( I’m constantly do it 24/7 and out of boredum with out realizing it.

  • Tim

    November 1st, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    This is the first time I ever looked this up. According to my mum, I’ve been doing it since I was around two years old, when my mouth was swollen due to infection. These days my habit can range from a little bit every day to intense biting to the point of having a really painful mouth. Even to the edges of my lips. I have been concerned about it for a while but the idea of stopping is a little scary, like I’m trying to find ways to excuse it. I looked it up now because last night I really did it to excess and ended up with a very sore mouth. Today, all I want to do is smooth it out. I’ve managed not to so far but it’s driving me mad.

    @Kilgore, I could find no evidence that biting alone would be likely cause cancer. Unless you know what you’re talking about, I would advise not to give this kind of alarmist advice to people with an obsessive habit like mouth biting. It’s difficult enough to stop as it is.

  • Roz

    August 26th, 2016 at 8:15 AM

    Tim, I’ve never heard of developing cancer either, that’s just an assumption if you ask me, lol. I too have been developed this issue as a small child. But for me, when I realize it’s a true condition you do the work and try to perhaps lessen the OCD as much as possible. Wishing you well!

  • Savagina

    November 3rd, 2014 at 9:05 PM

    It’s so weird, but I love the feeling of biting my lips and gums. It’s like it gets me high.

  • Odin P.

    November 11th, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    From a very little boy to my late teens I used to bite my nails everyday. I hated doing it and always wanted to stop, but couldn’t control my mind for 15 yrs. I finally solved it by putting clear bad tasting nail polish. I was so so so happy! After like a month with no habit one day I bit the inside of my cheek once and ripped off a little piece of skin and that was hell right away again I knew. It was like the habit monster came back to me in my mind saying you are cursed and will not defeat me, here is your new habit! Since then that is the habit I have and I can’t Stand it! My tongue moves around the inside of my mouth feeling the skin and then my teeth bite off a little layer of skin. Then I spit little pieces out over and over. It doesn’t hurt at all, causes no sores, and always grows back within a day or two inside my inner cheeks and under my lip. I do it when I’m bored or have nothing to focus on. Its so hard to control. I can’t stand it this mental habit. My teeth are also aligned well. It’s a desire my tongue has. The tip is like a skin detector to message my brain to tell my teeth to bite the layer piece off then I have to spit the pieces out. It accumulates and dries up around my desk. This is extremely frustrating what can I do? I wish this skin didn’t keep growing back! Habits sure are very hard to beat!

  • Mahogany_Lover

    December 6th, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    Ikr it’s unstoppable I kept on biting the inside of my cheek and it’s so wierd but I then suck my blood from it until my mouths full of blood,and there’s like this huge spot all the to the back of my mouth to the beginning!๐Ÿ˜–

  • Jessica

    November 15th, 2014 at 6:27 AM

    I do it all the time ever since I was 5-6 it makes me feel better but I feel after I did it too much and bleeds I’m so stupid and hate my self I wish I didn’t do it but I never got to see my mum she would always run away its been 7-8 years now I don’t no were she is but I no were I am in my head and what I am I’m in stupid world and mental as always :(

  • Paul

    November 17th, 2014 at 7:27 AM

    Odin P, I am you, EXACT same. Awful habit, affecting my teeth now, need to STOP but how. At least I don’t know I’m the only person in the world that does this now, after looking it up just this morning. I’m 57, have been at it for 45 years.

  • Cynthia

    November 17th, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    I have been biting the inside of my mouth my entire life. Now at 52, my top front teeth have shifted back and my jaw doesn’t close properly. I have tried many things to stop, but am unable. And insurance won’t cover repairing my teeth because they consider braces cosmetic. This is not cosmetic! I chipped a bottom front tooth last week, and accidentally bite the inside of my mouth while chewing food! Can anyone out there recommend a way to get this fixed? I’m confident braces will stop me from biting the inside of my mouth because the braces will prevent me from grabbing the skin with my teeth–therefore both problems will be solved. I just can’t afford braces out-of-pocket.

  • Clar

    December 3rd, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    Hi Cynthia, sorry to say, nope, braces does not help with the biting. When I got them I thought the same and at first it did help just cause I wasn’t used to the braces, but after a few days I just kept biting. Although, id like to try Heidi’s idea of using molding plastic. Which they do give at the orthodontist so braces won’t scratch the cheek. so maybe you can go and ask for that.

  • Kristin

    November 18th, 2014 at 2:49 AM

    I have done this since childhood. I found that journaling helps relieve bits of my anxiety because it puts my feelings and thoughts and fears into something tangible.

  • Heidi

    November 18th, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    I found a solution that works to break the habit! I use a tiny amount of Insta Morph moldable plastic to make a sleeve that covers one of my lower teeth (one of the nibbling culprits). I make the bite edge slightly thick and rounded, and viola! I’m unable to nibble!
    Does it reduce my stress? No. But it allows my cheek to heal
    and become smooth again, and it does build awareness of my habit.
    The sleeve is tiny, I pop it in my pocket if I eat, but I can drink with it in too.

  • Paul

    November 18th, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    At least I don’t feel like such a freak anymore…

  • Ann

    November 22nd, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    I don’t feel stressed nor anxious but I do it for a reason I don’t know
    I bite my nails out of boredom
    I may be biting my gums for the same reason
    I have a massive problem like I even use to bite my dolls as a kid out of boredom

  • David

    December 6th, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    I started chewing inside my mouth just recent, I really do not know what to do. Any pill to take for
    or what ever, I just want it to leave..

  • Frances

    December 9th, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    Wow. You guys make me feel normal. Don’t know why I all of a sudden got curious enough to Google this problem. I figured it was just a nervous habit, but was totally unaware there were others like me. . I am almost 50 years old and have been biting my cheeks since I was a young child. I started out biting my finger nails and toe nails (disgusting hunh) as a child. I got tired of having unattractive finger nails so I stop the nail biting. I guess that’s when the jaw biting started. Most of the time I am unaware of doing it until I’ve chew my jaw ragged. Chewing gum help me most of the time. I am also a gum addict. I chew at least 2 packs a day which started years ago to prevent me from eating sweets.
    I have no dental issues. .thank God. My dentist compliments me on my teeth at almy 6 month appointments. However I believe this is causing my face to sag…I’m trying to stop this habit because I don’t want to look older the an my age. Most of my family look younger for their ages so I’m contributing the sagging to twisting my face to chew my jaws. Anyway I Pray the best to all of you. If you’re a believer, this can end with fasting and prayer.

  • Amber T

    December 10th, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    I do this too. I would have to say my favorite part is my lips. Mainly around my lip ring. When I becomes tenderer I switch to my cheeks and because they are jagged I chew more to smooth it out. I’ll wake up in the morning with dead skin on the back of my lips and It’s such a hard thing to break.

  • Dan

    December 16th, 2014 at 3:13 AM

    Wow Yea when I wake up I notice that too, so I’ll try to make it smooth and it just turns into a viscious cycle. Please let me know if you have any remedies

  • Rose

    December 11th, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    WOW ! I have been doing this since I was a young girl, I am now 34 and decided to look this up today because I was sitting in a business meeting and just could not stop biting. I think it is stress related as well because I can go a long time without doing it but once I start it is so hard to stop! I also feel as tho it is a cause for my small frown lines that started to appear so I am going to try my best to stop this really bad habit. Nice to know I am not alone in this.

  • Kel

    December 14th, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Anyone been able to successfully stop this? I would like to kick the habit, but it’s extremely hard because I just want to smooth out the area as much as possible to make it feel normal. How long would I have to go without biting for it to finally heal?

  • Morgan

    March 6th, 2015 at 9:00 AM

    Hey Kel! Im only 16 and ive been biting the inside of my cheeks since i was about four years old, before i got my braces in, my mouth was swollen and raw and i was stuck on a liquid diet. It hurt like heck but…… i finally managed to stop that habit! What I did was anytime i noticed that i was biting my cheeks, i did something to keep my mind off of what was causing the habit, for me anxiety. So if this problem still exists, try to stay very busy where your doing something and your mind cant focus on biting your cheeks. I hope i helped you out!

  • Stranger

    December 15th, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    I feel all of you! It bothers me so much cause I get angry at myself for doing it. Sometimes, biting the inner cheeks or lips causes me to have headaches and even sore jaws.
    Need to stop this habit!

  • Dan

    December 16th, 2014 at 3:11 AM

    Seriously I knew I had a problem and it makes me feel better to know that so many other people that so this too. I had a therapist tell me it’s because I like the taste of blood subconsciously and between the pain and OCD, it can be compared to cutting. I don’t even notice it anymore until I’m literally bleeding. Does anyone know something that works?

  • easy

    December 18th, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    I have this bad habit and I think its so gross when I realize that I am spitting out small pieces of my cheek. What usually help to control this is to chew gum. I hope it helps you too.

  • Deanna

    December 16th, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    Thank you God there is an app for this….lol no really thought i was alone on this been doing it also since childhood…not from boredom…but i also bit my nails/toenails but it gets better …as an adult i rock my butt side to side and bite my jaw ….if u want to stop just stop….skin grows back instantly….good luck

  • chidera

    December 16th, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    jee! i do it a lot and it hurts badly cos i cant stop :(

  • zoe

    December 19th, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    I started biting my nails and especially the skin around my nails when i was 7 and hated having all chewed up disgusting looking nails. So one day i started to feel a piece of dried skin on my lips and omg was it bad. For many months, id bite and rip the skin of my lips and it would bleed so i decided to move to inside my mouth as none could see it, its weird but i kinda find it a stress relief and i think having OCD its another one of my daily rituals…

  • matt

    December 19th, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    It’s arrange for me it’s like an on and off kind of thing so it would make sense if its linked to stress but besides the canker sores is there anything with permanent damage?

  • william

    December 21st, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    OmG, i thought i was the only one. I always think that I can beat itbut then I end up doing it again without noticing

  • sbrown

    December 23rd, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    I am so relieved to see this is a common issue and it not just me who does this it drives me mad. I don’t even know I’m doing it when I’m stressed and it is so hard to stop. I did break it for a while once but started again when went through a period of stress….. I hate it yet my mind seems to think I have to do it

  • sbrown

    December 23rd, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    It was my mum seeing me for the first time in months and saying my jaw looked weird that made me realise I was at it again….

  • joe

    December 24th, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    My cheeks start to irritate me when i am stressed. Biting them relieves the tension and irritation. I was wondering if it is similar to those who cut themselves.

  • Melissa

    December 31st, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Don’t bite the inside of your mouth because it might cause mouth infection

  • joe

    December 24th, 2014 at 12:46 AM

    Oh, yeah, i found that flossing helps. Sometimes I end up flossing a few times a day just to fight off the urge. I recommend the floss that comes on those little plastic handles that Gillette makes. They’re easy and effective. I like to use mouth wash too. I guess something good can come out of it. :)

  • Barry P.

    December 27th, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    I have been biting the inside of my mouth and lips since I was two. I am now sixty eight! Have never checked out why until now. Do I get some kind of pleasure out of it? I think I do! But have no idea why. On the upside I don’t have many wrinkles, maybe the contortions required to reach the difficult bits exercise the muscles in my face lol. But I wish I could stop doing it!

  • Katie H

    December 29th, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    I have baby pictures of me doing it and it seems to be a continuation thing for me. It drives me nuts, I constantly have a mouths or two.

  • Melissa

    December 31st, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    I think the reason why you bite the inside of your mouth is because you are getting older and it’s probably gonna become a habit according to my mom she is doctor at a near by hospital that’s some of the reasons why ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Armando

    January 4th, 2015 at 1:56 AM

    I can’t let go the habit of biting my lip. I have been doing this for 3 years already and I want to stop. Its hard not to.

  • Kayra

    January 6th, 2015 at 5:23 PM

    I have been doing this since early childhood, sometimes i stop for few months but i don’t know what is the base of it and what makes me stop and what makes me start it again. I observe myself while i am doing it in a relax period…

  • Alyssa

    January 9th, 2015 at 12:55 PM

    IM 14 And have been biting the insides of my cheeks and lip for years now. It’s a habit that I just can’t break. I’ve been told that sense I have ADHD its a reason that I do it, but I’m not sure if that’s true. Does anybody have any tips on how to quit?

  • Eric

    January 10th, 2015 at 8:23 PM

    I have chewed the inside of my lips and mouth for as long as I can remember, oftentimes leading to really sore, chapped lips and sometimes even bleeding, and have idley wondered what the cause is for it… Guess now I know :-) nice to finally have some confirmation that there is a reason, but like most of you I don’t even realise I’m doing it until my lips and cheeks are raw, how am I supposed to stop doing something that I don’t know I’m doing? Seems a more than a little challenging :-/

  • jon

    January 12th, 2015 at 9:43 PM

    The night after drinking I really bite my cheeks! The reason why is because when I drink the next day I stress about the mistakes I made that night and stress about it and start biting my cheeks. Its like biting your nails don’t worry about it but when you can stop the habit your mouth heals 10 times faster then any other part of your body. Bad habit but easy to correct…. Less stress!!!

  • Alena

    January 13th, 2015 at 7:50 PM

    i think the main reason i do it is because of my anxiety. it’s bad because it mentally is a great think but physically isnt, which makes me not want to stop. i usually bite my cheeks when i get super nervous or pressured or having to talk, etc. but i have scars in my mouth from it so i dont really know what i should do.

  • Alena

    January 13th, 2015 at 7:51 PM

    *thing

  • Gina

    January 15th, 2015 at 10:18 PM

    I’ve been doing the same since I was like 2 years old. I’m less than a month away from 28 now and can’t stop doing it. One time I had to travel a long distance and I bit inside the mouth/the lower lip area for about 3 hours, I noticed the blood and the flesh? From inside the tissue it was like little flesh balls( I really don’t see how else can I put that) and it hurt as I kept on biting them out until I could feel the skin with my tongue!! Ended up with a really fat lip and infection… Now I’ve noticed I’m also biting the out side of the lip. I hate this terribly awful habit.

  • mom of 2

    January 20th, 2015 at 11:17 AM

    Well, I am 22. I found this article laying I bed, I couldnt sleep because I was biting on the inside of my fricken mouth. I bite my nails too (unless I have my nails done) but its gotten SO bad that the teeth I use to bite with have lost some enamel and now I have exposed nerves in my teeth. Please kick the habit before you mess your teeth up. It hurts like hell. Ive been doing it for years.. it only got worse when I got adopted at 16. Why? I have no idea. I never figured out why, I assumed it was stress related. But now im thinking I have a serious problem. Especially when I find myself literally peeling pieces of the inside of my bottom lip with my teeth, ew I know its repulsive to think about that way.. even with the exposed nerve in my teeth, Im still at it when im trying to go to bed at night. I dont know what to do. Its driving me nuts.

  • ChickensSayMoo

    January 20th, 2015 at 6:24 PM

    I find myself chewing on the right side of my mouth a lot and now my teeth are all sore, my cheek is raw, and I think my jaw is off center. I’ve found that chewing gum or having a vitamin c drop helps. Though, when I’m at home watching tv or reading I suck on an uncooked fetucinni noodle.

  • A Person

    January 21st, 2015 at 10:19 AM

    I do this ALL……THE……TIME!!!! It’s so annoying cuz i do it without knowing and it’s often painful after chewing it way too deep. Sometimes my teeth hurt after a day of chewing it. I was thinking about asking my pediatrician about it but will he know?? What do I do??

  • Hockeymom40

    January 22nd, 2015 at 7:07 PM

    Wow…I too decided to google this after countless nights of cheek biting while watching TV. I’m not sure why it starts either. Every night little bites, rips and tears. Then yes, the aggrivation of smoothing out the surface. By morning it’s like it never happened until night time again. This is new for me must be stress. I have ALOT of work stress …
    who knows?

  • Joshua

    January 24th, 2015 at 11:29 AM

    thank you for this article. I have been biting my cheek since I was 15 years old. First time was when I was visiting dad on a weekend and hanging out with a couple kids that I wanted to be accepted by. Definitely a moment where there was a high amount of stress as a teenager wanting acceptance.I have been biting my cheek now for 15 years. I am able to curb the habit at times. Whatt works best for me is just taking time each day to pray and focus on scriptures that speak against addictive habits. knowing that God is with me and my life helps me to destress significantly. when I let go of that knowledge I tend to bite my cheek more. I don’t mean to make this discussion religious but it certainly is true that what we believe has a tremendous impact on our psychology and behavior.

  • Senjin

    January 24th, 2015 at 7:52 PM

    Finally, the questionably-worded “anxiety cheek biting” Google search has provided useful information.

    I have been biting since middle school. Now 21, I am much more aware of the rough, gnawed texture that has claimed the soft tissue inside my mouth. Upper lip, lower lip, both cheeks – if there is a place I can feel is free, I’m at it.

    Most times, I stop myself wondering how long I had been chewing, and whether or not anyone took notice of the contorted faces that come with the habbit. Recently though, I’ve focused my attention on that word alone: habbit.

    I do have anxiety. With that, I know there are a number of self-consoling actions I do (tearing at my cuticles, rappidly tapping a foot, cracking knuckles) on a daily basis, but as mentioned in the article, MINDFULNESS makes a world of difference.

    Meditation has become a tool I cherish. Baby steps and practice in having a calm mind have helped me decrease the amount of time I spend chewing or picking or wiggling, or whatever my mind subconsciously feels compelled to do in ordder to cope with stress or worry.

    Look at your thoughts and concerns objectively. Find support to talk your brainworks out with. Though I haven’t completely stopped my physical ticks, I can finally picture life without them, and I know that with mindfulness, that is a very possible goal.

  • Stephanie

    March 25th, 2015 at 11:31 AM

    I have terrible anxiety and bite my cheeks constantly and really need to turn to yoga and meditation. I just don’t know how to start it up. Is yoga a form of meditation? How do you meditate?๐Ÿ˜• Helpppp!!! Thanks!

  • saiyed

    January 24th, 2015 at 10:31 PM

    I always bite my cheek and lips roughly. how can i stop this?

  • Tori

    January 25th, 2015 at 8:35 PM

    Honestly, I bite the inside of both my cheeks and the inside of my upper an lower lip. I know when I’m doing it so it’s not like subconsciously done. I actually like doing it, weird I know. It’s really bad cause when I pull the skin it gets near the piece in your mouth connecting your lip and teeth. And I like when I pull the skin so far that it reaches near my teeth. Not sure if I need help lmfao but I’ve been doing this since god knows how long, when I was really young.

  • shannon

    February 19th, 2015 at 8:37 PM

    You are not alone with this “extreme” (which is to say “normal”) form of lip biting. I am a compulsive picker… **disclaimer: NONE of the following is done in pursuit of pain, at all! I have no desire to hurt myself. There is relaxation and ” going into my own zone” that drives the below behaviors** It started off when I was six, (I am 41) after a severely traumatic event. I would sit on the bathroom sink for HOURS picking at the insides of my eye lids. (yes you read that right). The strings of mucous that form when eyes are irritated was the ” target”. My mom tried to save my eyes by giving me Elmer’s glue to put on the top of my hand, let it dry and peel it off. It didn’t even come close to the relief I get when my breathing slows WAY down and my thoughts stop as I concentrate on the task at hand. Long story short, I went from eyes to glue to lip biting(constant from that point) to peeling the skin off of my fingertips until I literally had no fingerprints in the picked fingers. Fact: fingerprints grow back. Who woulda thunk it??!! Anyhoo, following fingers was picking my feet and finally, my face. Specifically my pores, eyebrows and eye lashes. I am the most severe case I know and just this week am beginning to grasp the crippling effect my picking has had and continues to have on all aspects of my life. I have spoken to no one about it and am terribly ashamed and embarrassed by my inability to control OR stop if I’m actively picking. I have researched the treatment and I understand behavioral modification and cognitive therapy – I think I may benefit from an antianxiety medication first, then I can work on acknowledging, stopping, and redirecting. I’ve tried it all my life and the need outweighs logic and personal strength every single time.

    Anyway, thought I would share because… Its about time I got honest!!

  • Katie

    March 11th, 2015 at 10:36 PM

    I have suffered from anxiety since I was a kid. First sign was an obsession with rubbing yarn in between my fingers until I could stick my finger through the middle of the piece of yard. I had a blanket that was crocheted with yarn and I ruined that blanket with my obsessive habit (I still have it too!) Later I began grinding my teeth in my sleep, I have always bit my nails, but once I got braces in high school and I wasn’t physically able to get the nail to my teeth I began picking at my nails and now that habit is so engrained and obsessive that I can be doing it in public, while being embarrassed about being seen doing it, and not be able to stop myself even when my fingers begin bleeding. If I’m doing something like driving then I resort to biting my cheeks until they bleed. I had really long hair and I would obsessively pick at the strands of hair, so I cut my hair short. I have obsessively plucked my eyebrows until they are almost nonexistent, and I pull out my eyelashes, sometimes even with tweezers while looking for any hair that is out of place. My obsessive habits even extend to my partner. I will begin picking at his eyebrows, and as of recently he has been putting his foot down, much to my distress over that hair that is out of line LOL I need so much help…

  • aj

    April 26th, 2015 at 5:56 PM

    I feel the same way. It comforts me and i like getting long pcs of the gum. Im 58 now and have done it for yrs. I will let it heal and do it again time after time. Sometimes months go by and then im in a chew frenzy. Who cares why!

  • Jen

    January 29th, 2015 at 12:14 PM

    I feel a lot better knowing others have been doing this since they were young too. I am 45 and still doing it. Some days/weeks are better than others. Lately it has gotten bad, though, and I would like to find a cure. The skin around my lips is lined with wrinkles from this habit–I look like a smoker with “pucker” wrinkles. Horrible! My cheek skin has thickened quite a bit which makes it more difficult to quit since the skin brushes again my teeth. I plan to address this with my dentist and am hoping the treatment will not be too expensive. I try to chew gum a lot but I know that has it’s own problems: carginogenic sugar-free sweeteners, or sugar that causes cavities. Not sure how I will win this battle…

  • Chloe

    January 31st, 2015 at 8:19 AM

    Jeez, I’m glad I’m not the only one!
    I am fed up of this habit, have been doing this pretty much since I got my braces taken off. So for me I feel they are to blame-maybe because my mouth feels like its missing something? haha. Been doing this for atleast 5 years and it makes my mouth SO sore.!
    Sometimes I’m tempted to wear my retainers in the day just to stop me biting for a while but they wear out so easily and are very expensive to replace. Going to ask my dentist next week if he has any advice!

  • George

    February 1st, 2015 at 2:50 AM

    I have been biting my inner cheek for about 25 years, and it’s got so bad on occasions I wear a lower gum shield to protect my cheek and help it repair, I am also aware of long term health problems if I persist, I have also been given the advise to start chewing gum to ease the problem, I hope this may give you a few ideas

  • Kimberly

    February 3rd, 2015 at 1:44 PM

    I’ve been biting the inside of my cheeks and lips for a while and I’m 18 now and I still do it. Sometimes ulcers will come up at very top of my cheek, a place where I can’t bite and that kinda scares me.

  • Jessica

    February 4th, 2015 at 2:10 PM

    I really thought I wasn’t going to find anything with that Google search, but I am so relieved I’m not alone in this. I have been chewing the inside of cheeks for four years, since I moved out of state away from my family. Anxiety and stress are definitely the cause. I am at a point where the skin is cut pretty deep and indented along the line of my teeth, and I can always taste blood in my mouth. I need help! Thank you to everyone for your advice so far!

  • Chloe

    February 8th, 2015 at 2:07 AM

    Update: I asked the dentist who said its really difficult to control because its subconscious like a tick. He said I could have mouth shields that are like my retainers for ยฃ100, which I can’t really afford.
    Got some cheap teeth whitening trays from amazon which mould to your mouth/teeth shape. Trying them for the first time today, seems good so far I just wear the top tray (don’t need both), obviously wouldn’t wear these out of the house, but I think they will be good in the evenings to make me aware of the biting and to give my mouth a rest!

  • Kristen

    February 16th, 2015 at 8:27 AM

    I’m 48 and have been biting the inside of my mouth since childhood. It drives my husband crazy. My teenage daughter has now started to do it. It has helped me to see what ugly faces you make while doing it. This past week I have been keeping a short piece of plastic straw in my mouth as much of the day as possible. It has really helped me. Usually my whole inside is chewed up and right now I have only one little spot. Hope this idea can help others.

  • Maureen

    February 26th, 2015 at 6:21 AM

    I’m going to try your idea, thank you. I’ve been doing it to for years and my husband feels the same way as yours. It is ugly I know but for all the do gooder comments, it is just a habit and once the inside of your mouth has loose or raised skin without thinking you start chewing that bit again. I’m convinced if we could get to a place where the inside is healed maybe it would be easier to kick the habit. I’m not convinced it’s stress, thoughtful times seem worse but not necessarily stressed. I bit my nails as a child…this just seemed to take over from that.

  • Jim

    February 16th, 2015 at 1:32 PM

    I do not bite the inside of my cheek habitually, but I accidentally bite it very hard from time to time while eating. It happens about once a month, usually on the left side. The pain is severe, and the wound heals very slowly. There must be something about my dentition or jaw musculature that is out of whack. I believe that maybe my second molars are splayed out a little too far. I wish the article had addressed cases like mine instead of assuming that everyone who bites his or her cheek does it as a nervous habit.

  • Heather

    March 1st, 2015 at 4:47 PM

    This is exactly what I was searching for. My wisdom teeth are fully erupted, but all of my molars are pointed slightly to the outside. The backmost section of my inside cheek is unmovable in a way that removes it from friction; a slight insult to the area causes it to swell, leaving it invariably between my backmost teeth. Every time i open or close my mouth, it irritates the wound (now a skin flap). It’s killing me, and I don’t see relief in sight.

  • Stephanie

    March 10th, 2015 at 1:13 PM

    I had the same problem with my molars being pointy. I have just bad them filed down at my dentist. So day so good. Worth enquiring about yours x โ˜บ

  • The Truth

    February 17th, 2015 at 11:59 PM

    The reason why the biting is taking place normally happens when you are in an environment where you feel you either have not accomplished your dream or goal and you don’t know how to get there, period.

    Biting amplifies the insecurity of unsatisfaction in your choices and you feel like it is passing you by.

    The pain you feel is a feeling of, I deserve this hurt because I am not worthy of achieving or feeling worthy to make the change.
    So try this… write goals on paper, check off them one at a time.

    Once you continue to visualize your goal being achieved you will stop!

    Pain given to oneself is self mutilation, period.

    So, to cure this write your goals and hang the info on your fridge or back door of your bedroom… as you check off what you’ve done then your anxiety to self mutilate will go away!

    And IF your family and friends don’t support YOUR goals then tell THEM to go away!

    Take care… Mist E :)

  • dane

    March 5th, 2015 at 11:55 AM

    Wow, I feel like this describes me to a T, it’s kind of weird. So when you say goals, do you mean long term goals, short term, or what? I’m in school, so of course my long term goals are goto graduate and get a job ( naturally those would be goals of mine). But what about like daily stuff like to exercise or read for 15 minutes? Are those too short? Im asking because if I just put long term goals you will never be crossing any off of the list.

  • mememe

    March 18th, 2015 at 2:16 PM

    Maybefor some but not for all ao get off your high horse smh

  • Jessica

    February 22nd, 2015 at 11:17 PM

    I am 22 years old and i have been biting, chewing, and swallowing the insides of my lips and cheeks ever since i can remember. Sometimes i even move my cheek around with my hand so i can get to new skin, but i definitely have my favorite areas.
    I have a recurring dream that i actually eat a hole through my mouth.
    My grandmother once asked me what i was doing, i must have been making a face. I tried to explain it to her and she told me she does it too. She asked why do we do it, and i never knew the answer.
    Now i do. I don’t believe i will ever overcome this, but i feel really good after reading this and everyone’s comments to learn i am not alone.
    Thank you.

  • Scolton

    March 22nd, 2015 at 7:21 PM

    I def use my hand to get more areas that I can’t reach easily. Crazy. But somehow so satisfying!

  • Paul

    February 28th, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    For all you relative youngsters out there, as a 45 year biter, I am having teeth problems now, and I know it’s related to the stress of constant biting. This is not a harmless addiction, but it sure is a tough one to kick. I’ve been obsessed with re-quitting for a year or so now, and every time I get close, smoothed out a bit, I’ll start biting for 30 seconds or so and not even realize it, and the cycle continues. I need a BA meeting.

  • Amy

    March 4th, 2015 at 7:27 PM

    I have so many habits I am ashamed of its crazy and I know it all started in early childhood:cheek cheering, nail biting, skin picking. I actually picked my skin so bad one time, it got badly infected and had to be hospitalized and put on IV antibiotics. These habits can be life threatening, so tell someone you care about and seek help. You are not alone, and I know the stress and pain of your pasts still hurts.

  • Jewels

    March 6th, 2015 at 1:43 AM

    The habit of biting my cheeks has become terrible for me. I’m not sure what to do about it. I’m 15 and I’m already undertaking heavy medication for knee and hip problems, but my mother thinks I’m a hypochondriac and never believes me when I tell her I’m in pain. What can I do to fix this? It has gotten so bad that the only thing I can eat is just about is yogurt, jello, or frozen fruits. I also can’t drink sports drinks such as powerades and that is what I mostly drink. I have been eating frozen blueberries and drinking grape juice for the past three days, it’s getting pretty gross the more I eat/drink it. Any solutions. Your help is highly appreciated.!

  • Leonardo

    March 6th, 2015 at 4:30 PM

    How can I be released from this evil habit? I used to nail bite since childhood, I managed to quit doing that, but then I began biting my cheeks. It’s so damm frustating.

  • Alyssa

    March 10th, 2015 at 4:28 AM

    I’ve been biting and tearing my mouth up since about 7th grade (age 13). I’m now 27 and it’s begun to cosume me. I peel, bite, and tear off skin inside my lips until all I can taste is a mouthful of blood. It’s gotten so bad, I’ll put off things to do until I’m satisfied or done biting.

  • Grace

    March 10th, 2015 at 12:52 PM

    Wow….I did not know there were more people with this severe of a problem….. my cheeks are raw right now and in pain!!!! Didn’t know it was a diagnosis!

  • Tdawn

    March 10th, 2015 at 11:05 PM

    I’ve been biting my cheeks and lips since I was in 9th grade and I’m 23 I’ll sit and do it for hours and not realize I’m doing it my husband gets mad at me because I’ll bite so much I’ll start to bleed but I can’t help it I don’t know how to stop biting my cheeks but I’m glad I’m not the only person that’s doing this when I say something about it people look at me like I’m crazy

  • Scolton

    March 22nd, 2015 at 7:18 PM

    I’ve been chewing the inside of my mouth as long as I can remember. I am concerned it could lead to mouth cancer due to the proven fact that a constant irritation, inflammation, can cause cancer. But I cannot stop. I find it interesting that my brother also has the habit. I definitely chew to the point of pain and some bleeding. Generally once I reach that point, I’ll slack off until it heals then I’ll start up again. I don’t know what it will take to make me stop. I’d like to.

  • Hannah F.

    March 12th, 2015 at 10:38 AM

    I have been doing this since I was about 4 years old. I just turned 22. I catch myself chewing the lining of my mouth/lips/cheeks, but by the time I realize I’m doing it, I already have a mouth full of blood. Something about it calms me, even when I’m doing absolutely nothing. I’ve never realized how many people deal with with this- nor have I taken the time to look into it, until now. Being a prior psychology student, I’m not sure why I didn’t look into it. I’m just curious what happened to make the habit start in the first place. I have had a mouth full of blood since age 4. Basically my whole life. I can’t seem to break the habit. I subconsciously start it before I am consciously aware.

  • Angela

    March 16th, 2015 at 1:57 PM

    I’ve been doing since I was 11 and I always do it when I’m stressed out or driving. I don’t notice when I’m doing it but my husband will yell at me “stop eating your cheeks!” But once I start then all I can feel is the roughness and want to keep doing it to fix it! How do you stop?

  • Shelby

    March 23rd, 2015 at 8:53 PM

    I do to but I find I i always have gum with me when I realized I’m doing then chewing the gum (or any food I guess) will distract me from chewing my mouth

  • Jessica

    March 16th, 2015 at 7:28 PM

    My mom noticed I would do it when I was nervous around the age of 13. I am 36 now and my ex husband use to pick at me about it. My fiance is less cruel and tries to find ways to get me to stop whether it be talking about things or finding something to occupy me. I always thought I was the only one who did it as well. My 8 yr old I have noticed does it when she is concentrating on something

  • Nes.

    March 17th, 2015 at 10:35 AM

    I’ve been biting the sides of my cheeks since I was about 15 and I’m 22 now. I don’t know how it came about but I always catch myself doing it and always tell myself I have to stop. But I end up doing it again. There’s times I’m completely stress free and still tend to bite my cheeks, so I guess it can be considered a bad habit. I’ve always thought I was the knkg one who did this but I saw some woman doing it the other day and I felt somewhat relieved lol. I tend to bite my left cheek more than the right, idk why. I wish I could stop๐Ÿ˜ฉ

  • Nes.

    March 17th, 2015 at 10:36 AM

    *only

  • Olivia

    March 17th, 2015 at 7:39 PM

    I only bite my left cheek never my right. it’s so weird

  • Mark

    April 12th, 2015 at 12:56 PM

    It’s not weird! Ok well it is for others, but there are millions that do this. Me included. The only way I can stop is to force my self to stop for. Week. If i do and everything is healed then I can stop sometimes for a year at a shot but keeps coming back when I am stressed and I just need to start biting and then it is all over. Have to finish! Lol. Ugg lol Good luck

  • Ayla

    March 24th, 2015 at 8:44 PM

    I’ve recently started doing this. My mom catches me doing it all the time. I started when I was about 7 months pregnant with my son last year in October. And ever since I’ve been doing it all the time. I can only make myself not do it when I’m busy doing something or distracted by something. But when I’m bored, stressed, or mad I do it. I really thought I was the only one but relieved that I am not.

  • Candace

    March 27th, 2015 at 7:16 AM

    I have a solution to this problem that helped me stop after 30 years of habitual lip biting. For me the triggers were reading the newspaper in the morning, and also feeling the roughness of damaged areas inside my mouth.

    A few years ago, I had plastic dental trays made for tooth bleaching. For those who don’t know, plastic tooth bleaching trays are made from molds of your teeth. I decided to try using a tray to block my teeth. When the tray was in, I couldn’t bite my lip. After 4 days the damage had healed up and I no longer had the strong urge to bite. It might take more time for some people, I’ve heard 21 days is how long it takes to break a bad habit.

    There are a variety of mouth guards and do-it yourself tooth tray molds available online. Be creative. Or have a tray made by a dentist. Using a tooth guard really works.

  • Candy

    March 31st, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    I’ve been biting my cheeks for over 30 years. I’ve also been biting my tongue for over 10 years. I don’t do it because I’m anxious. I do it because I like the feeling. I like chewing on the little bits of tissue. I’m aware I do it a lot of times but I’m sure I do it subconsciously also. When my cheek or tongue get sore from overdoing it, I stop for a couple of days and then resume. As for any damaging effects, nothing has happened. And as I said, I’ve been doing it for over 30 years so I really don’t think I have anything to worry about.

  • SayJoss

    March 31st, 2015 at 12:20 PM

    WoW! I’m si glad I’m no the only one! It’s a terrible habit and I can’t stop. I catch myself and talk me into stopping but a few seconds later I’m at it again. Ive had this since as long as I can remember. My mom always caught me doing it at church while I was an altar server and when she gave me that specific look, I knew I was doing it and my lips were halfway up my cheek lol. I bit it so much that if I don’t get the fulfillment of biting my inside, then I move on to biting my lips on the outside. I’ve tried chewing gum, up to 4/5 sticks so that it’s thick but then I get tired of it, spit it out and right back to biting again. I NEED TO STOP! solutions or advice anyone? (Biting as we speak)

  • tracy

    April 25th, 2015 at 5:44 PM

    I do the exact same thing. Once the skin on the inside has been exhausted I move to my lip.

  • Paul

    April 3rd, 2015 at 9:54 AM

    I’ve posted here a couple of times. Biter for 45 years, quit once for a few years, started again. Lately have been having teeth problems, I know related to the constant pressure. Sensitivity in front teeth, which were already worn down. So I decided to carry my (night) mouth guard around with me, in the car especially. So it’s been 4 days of no biting. Wish me luck.

  • Esther

    April 8th, 2015 at 5:36 AM

    Thank God! I though I was d only one in d whole world doing this. Its a very terrible habit. Someone pls help, I need to stop it.

  • boom_goes_the_dynamite

    April 13th, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    I have been doing this for about 25 years (I’m 40 now). At one point I noticed that i was wearing my front teeth down, so I had them bonded, thinking that spending the $$ on bonding would stop the habit. Didn’t work. I tend to do it less when people are around and more when I’m drinking.

  • Jazzer 4

    April 14th, 2015 at 12:54 PM

    i would like to suggest what has worked for me to stop this terrible habit.
    I purchased from an athletic store a boilable mouthguard. I also purchased Orajel Antiseptic mouth rinse for mouth sores at Walgreens.
    I molded the mouthguard to fit my top teeth and I wore it for three days straight. I didn’t sleep in it. Before going to bed I used the mouth rinse. You can’t bite the inside of your mouth with the mouthguard on. The rinse promotes fast healing. I used that before bed and once again during the day. In three days my mouth was totally cleared up. All this will cost you is about $12.

  • Kassy H.

    April 14th, 2015 at 8:34 PM

    If you need something to keep you from doing it for now try using a straw. Take a straw with the bendy thing on one side and cut and equal length of plastic on both sides of the straw and place it in your mouth with the bend between your front teeth. This will prevent you from closing your teeth, making it nearly impossible to chew your cheeks. You can use the rest of the straw for a chewing alternative.

  • Brittney

    April 15th, 2015 at 4:11 PM

    I mostly just hate how it feels when my mouth has a dry peely feeling, so i just bite all the loose skin off until it feels smooth. It always feels peely after smoking a lot, eating grapes or eating lemons. But then i also just continue biting out of habit even after it feels somewhat smoothed out… I wish i could stop then maybe it wouldn’t feel jagged and peely in the first place.

  • Tash

    April 16th, 2015 at 2:15 AM

    Wow i pulled my hair hair out for years and finally managed to kick that about 5 years ago but chew the inside of my mouth. I had no idea it was linked this is another thing im going to have to sort out.

  • Percy

    April 18th, 2015 at 8:44 AM

    I don’t do it all the time but i do it every day, Sometimes i don’t realize that i’m biting the inside of my mouth but then my girlfriend hits me and tells me to stop biting, i really hate my self when i feel the inside of my mouth and notice that it’s not smooth , it’s like having holes inside my cheeks, wish it was not a mental behavior, cuz it’s too hard to treat it

  • Nolan

    June 14th, 2015 at 11:03 PM

    I can totally relate to your story, I’ve been a habitual cheek biter myself for years. it’s something that I’ve been trying to stop doing for the longest but can’t. My wife always catches me doing it and shouts at me to stop! I feel ashamed of myself when she catches but then I just go right back and stay doing it again when not looking. I don’t know if it’s a disease or a bad habit that’s just natural to us “cheek biters” what the hell! In even doing it while I’m writing this….lol!
    but seriously though, I would like to know more about this condition.

  • Ann

    April 24th, 2015 at 7:04 AM

    I don’t think my biting is due to anxiety ( may be it I just haven’t figured my triggers). I have noticed I do this 1-2 weeks prior to my periods, I figure a PMS kinda situation. The rest of the month my teeth don’t even get close to my cheeks and inner lower lip. But, then again, I bite my nails. I have tried a mouthguard to deter the cheek biting, acrylic nails/nasty tasting nail polish for my nail biting without success. I don’t mind the nail biting, I have been doing it for as long as I can remember. I need to kick the cheek biting habit to the curve. Any suggestions are appreciated.

  • kevin

    April 24th, 2015 at 7:20 PM

    I think its stress and my job because I catch myself all the time and I hate it, I thought I had yeast infection in my darn mouth

  • Krichelle

    April 25th, 2015 at 3:12 PM

    I have been doing this for as long as I can remember and I am now 21. I think I first noticed it when I was about 7 because one day I ended up with a mouth full off blood. I do this subconsciously and my family and boyfriend always pull me up on it but I don’t listen I just keep biting. I think I do this when I’m concentrating, stressed or anxious but sometimes I find myself doing it for no reason- just to clean up the rough edges inside my cheeks which still makes it worse anyway.

    I have a feeling I have OCD because of some other stuff I do and I’m wondering if it has something to do with that? I want to stop this cheek and lip biting so much but I feel relieved while I’m doing it. I do this all day, everyday. even when it’s bleeding and sore I still continue to do it. I think the only time I don’t bite is when I’m talking to someone or eating- although If I’m
    Having a conversation with someone I’ll still bite when I’m listening to what they say…

    I can’t live with it anymore!!!

  • abs

    April 28th, 2015 at 1:32 PM

    Sometimes I chew and bleed so much, I feel like a cannibal!! and then the next day its all bumpy and salty and I have to keep chewing because its rough and tastes nice!

  • Daniel

    May 2nd, 2015 at 11:24 PM

    Hello all, I have been doing this for as long as I can remember. I also remember my mother doing it when I was little.

    This is such a bad habit, my fiancรฉ and my brother are always telling me to quit eating myself. I always try to explain I do it because the inside of my mouth is uneven and I can feel it on my gums and teeth. It is such an irritating feeling that you have to bite at it.

    I bite pretty much where ever I can inside my mouth including the sides of my tongue, I will even try to pinch it out with my fingers at times or use my nail or something to scrape it out.

    I really want to stop I worry I’m going to push my teeth out I push so hard some times. The feeling is so annoying and it is so satisfying when you get a piece out of the way and than before you know it your biting at the edge of that tear.

    I have found that I can’t hold conversations because I’m so into biting. And when someone asks a question I get frustrated because I have to stop biting to answer them only to return back to it. I have went to smoke a cigarette lit it and spent the whole time biting and the cigarette is gone without even smoking it. I am having a hard time writing this right now because of this.

    Some times I can stop for a day or two and other days it’s all I can do to stop for five minuets. It suck.

  • Tanya W

    May 4th, 2015 at 2:58 AM

    This will explain everything.

    wikipedia.org/wiki/Morsicatio_buccarum

  • abbey

    May 5th, 2015 at 3:47 AM

    Ive been biting the inside of my cheeks for what feels like forever. Sometimes I bite so hard that I bleed, yet I still continue to bite. Everyone tells me to stop being stressed, but its not the easy you dont just stop being stressed just like that .

  • Crista

    May 7th, 2015 at 6:06 AM

    Its also a learned and hereditary behavior. I remember my mother doing this ALOT when I was younger then around my teenage years I realized I started doing it(even my little brother does it) and now in my 40s I am getting better at not chewing inside my cheek now I guess I replaced it by biting my lip but slowly getting better.

  • Ricardo

    May 8th, 2015 at 6:08 PM

    When I stopped biting the tips of my nails, I started biting the inside of my mouth; both are very painful behaviors I wish I could quit.
    I’ve been diagnosed with OCD, and due to it I feel like this behavior of self-aggression will never end.

  • Nicole

    May 10th, 2015 at 12:44 AM

    Wow, I’ve been doing this since I was little (I’m 24). Sadly, I’m actually doing it right now and that’s what led me here.

    I do have anxiety, and I always bite in the same exact spots until I bleed and then I’ll keep doing it for the taste :/.
    I also find myself biting the very top of my tongue also, taking the layer of tissue off of it til it’s sore.

    It’s a frustrating habit because by the time I finally consciously realize that I’m doing it; my jaw is sore and it always gives me a horrible headache (from clenching my jaw so much)

  • Vivianne

    May 10th, 2015 at 1:34 AM

    I know I started at school as I saw a classmate do it. Since then only drinking lemon juice or chewing gum /or anything else – just keeping my mouth busy/ can stop me from biting my cheeks. Lemon juice sure helps me for a while.

  • Becca

    May 11th, 2015 at 6:44 AM

    I noticed that I bit my nails more so when I was stressed and anxious. I didn’t think much of biting my cheeks until my dentist mentioned it. I try gum but I can’t chew gum all day everyday although it helps. It’s frustrating because I know I have anxiety.

  • Dee

    May 16th, 2015 at 4:42 PM

    I’m 60 and have chewed my cheeks until I realized I created wrinkles around my lips from my face being twisted. So I moved to chewing my bottom lip, inside and out. I now realize that my teeth are misaligned and I have developed a mucocele under my tongue from this horrible insidious habit. It is definitely not a harmless habit. I believe it is anxiety, nervous related as well as an OCD thing and it has all become habit. I’m determined to stop!

  • Natalie

    May 17th, 2015 at 6:53 PM

    I’m 18 now but I started chewing my cheeks in about 5th grade. It started out with one side but I barely ever did it. I also bit my nails and the skin around the front of my nails. Ithe cheek biting has gotten worse. To where I won’t know I’m doing it until someone says something to me. I bite my cheeks and the back of my lips and now I use my fingers to scratch my cheeks to get into the far back. I’ll do that too and not even know. My family and friends have gotten use to it. But I’m worried that something could happen.

  • Zeina

    June 10th, 2015 at 6:18 AM

    Omg….i thought i was the only one! I even scratch my inner cheek with my nail…yeah it’s been like 8 years that i do that! Anyway, I’ve never been worried about it because it’s a bad habit, just like nail biting and all…the thing is, I realized that when I have a chewing gum in my mouth, I can’t bite my cheeks…also, I know how hard it is to be aware when you’re biting your cheek, so just try to keep yourself busy. Good luck with that๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

  • Jennifer

    May 27th, 2015 at 8:26 PM

    Wow. I had no idea that there were so many other people out there that did this besides me. I find my self doing it all the time the older I get. I have 4 kids and my husband is disabled and has been for nearly 7 years. The stress of caring for him as well as our children and living on disability probably has been the cause for the problem become more frequent. I bite my nails as well. I just finally sat down tonight and wanted to at least see if there was an explaination for why I do it. Now I know and though I know I need to stop, I don’t feel so guilty and freakish for doing it. It becomes embarrassing when I have to go to the doctor and they have to look in my mouth. I would love to stop but I just don’t know if I can.

  • tseleng

    May 29th, 2015 at 8:55 AM

    I just dont know what the hek is going on.I started biting my cheeks three years back and this developed into a freaking habit! I cant even study cause im afraid i will chew the whole mouth,even my facial look is being modified by this habit.please,help me,this triggers depression for me on a daily basis.I cant even spend 5 minutes without doing it ang it also causes me a horrid headache.

  • Mari

    June 1st, 2015 at 6:40 AM

    People always say that I’m pretty calm and I never looked stressed out but I have been chewing the inside of my cheeks and lips since my Freshman year in High School, I believe.

    Currently, I have this really bad oral ulcer as a result of chewing a specific area too much and I have a mild sore on my upper lip from chewing it too much, as well. But I’m still chewing my lip. This is definitely subconscious and I do it when I’m either stressed or bored. But since I have this ulcer right now I really want to stop. The ulcer really hurts and it looks so gross.

  • kroo

    June 6th, 2015 at 12:56 PM

    I thought i was the only one:/ i do it too i bite the insides of my left cheek when im scared or when im anxious about an event. I hate it especially when u dont do it for a little bit and then it feels wrinkled up all inside.. i feel gross:(

  • John in Oakland

    June 6th, 2015 at 4:33 PM

    If you bite your cheeks or inner mouth (as I used to do), do not be alarmed. It is only a habit, not a sign of mental instability or other nonsense. And like any habit, it can be broken. The key is mindfulness โ€” being AWARE that you are biting. Once you have awareness, you have control.

    Here is how I achieved mindfulness of my check biting and, within 10 days, broke the habit.

    Starting right after breakfast I made myself wear a bite guard (a flexible plastic one from a teeth whitening kit) at all times during the day when not eating or speaking with someone. While wearing the guard I did not have the urge to bite. After just a few days, I was able to go without the guard and “catch myself” as soon as I started biting.

    The instant I caught myself biting I consciously stopped the process. I wouldn’t even let myself complete a nibble. And this is the key to success: Do not even for a moment permit yourself the satisfaction of biting! Once you are fully sensitized to the process, and have the discipline to deny any satisfaction from it, your unconscious mind will lose interest in the activity because the “reward” is gone.

    And you will stay stopped as long as you avoid the temptation to “just have a quick chew.” This means never allowing yourself to bite again, even once, or do an exploratory survey of your mouth with your tongue. Quitting check biting is like quitting smoking: relatively easy to quit cold turkey but almost impossible to taper off.

    I feel great to be free from doing something that caused other people to think I had some kind of nervous disorder. As with habits like nail biting (which I stopped years ago), the secret is to make up your mind you are going to beat this thing. Then take the necessary steps.

    Follow this approach and you’ll be cured in a week!

    Good luck!

  • Paul

    June 9th, 2015 at 9:47 PM

    I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve done this for many many years, as well as nail biting since being a small child. People look at my nails in horror but I’ve never been able to stop! Cheek biting has always been an issue as well, to the point of swollen cheeks and bruising at times even! I always say its acne but truth is, its my obsessive biting the inside of my cheeks. I’ve tried to stop cold turkey but just cannot sustain. So embarrassed and ashamed!!

  • Paul

    June 10th, 2015 at 9:27 AM

    I posted on April 3rd that I had stopped for 4 days, using my night guard during the day. It’s not been 2 months, and no biting. Smooth cheeks. Many years ago I stopped for a long time, and started doing it again in my sleep, so hope to fight it off forever now.
    It had a very bad effect on my teeth, so you young folks – STOP now.

  • Vicki

    June 12th, 2015 at 4:40 AM

    Just started doing this again and found this excellent article. At present I’m aware I’m doing it – or at least I become aware – but I dread the thought of doing this in public and not being aware!
    Still, now I have some clinic names for this behavior to take to the doc and hopefully get this handled once and for all. Thanks!

  • Sarah

    June 12th, 2015 at 1:18 PM

    I have been biting my cheeks since grade school. I never knew there was a name for it. I find myself doing it all day long, especially when I am bored. I’ve been doing it for so long that I have developed wrinkles above my upper lip.

  • Vicki

    June 14th, 2015 at 12:18 AM

    I found myself doing it tonight, and only when I was in the car driving to my apartment, which doesn’t feel like home yet. This is a good clue for me as maybe I start biting as a reaction to my stress? Who knows, but it’s info I’ll share with my doctor. As for your habit and the resultant wrinkles over your upper lip: how about letting a bit of old fashioned vanity aid you in stopping? Try telling yourself – no biting, no wrinkles! Cheers….. : )

  • Nolan

    June 14th, 2015 at 10:41 PM

    I’ve been biting my cheeks for as long as I can remember I don’t know how to stop. I hadn’t told anyone about my habitual biting, when I was around 10yrs old my mom found out I was doing it but now I’m 23 and she probably thinks I stopped but I haven’t is like a curse. Not even my wife knows about it

  • Vicki

    June 15th, 2015 at 6:17 PM

    You’d think there’d be some clinical info out there somewhere, huh? I don’t personally think it’s a disease but it’s annoying as hell. Ask your wife not to shout when she catches you as that may just worsen your problem – shaming doesn’t help. I have been thinking about putting a rubber band on my wrist and snapping it when I catch myself. That said, getting to the root of the problem is the long term answer. One thing I have discovered for myself is to not take on too many things at once. I have a mental “to-do list” and as I see that list shrinking day by day (and I’m satisfied if I only do one thing per day) I feel better. I’m trying to get better sleep, too. Well, end of sermon! Best of luck to you…..

  • Julia R.

    June 16th, 2015 at 8:58 PM

    I have been biting the inside of my cheeks ever since I was 6 and now I’m 14. If I keep doing this im going to get wrinkles on my top lip. No one knows I do this but my brother and even if he tells me stop ill end up doing it later. I started pinching my wrist every time I caught myself doing it. Geeze I should tell the doctor about this habit.

  • Apersonwithaname

    June 21st, 2015 at 11:16 AM

    I found out I did this when I was 13. I was at the dentist and he told me if I didn’t stop I’d end up having to get surgery at the age of 30. I found that chewing gum quelled the behavior, but now I tend to pick at the skin Arlene my fingers so I’m not sure which is worse.

  • Marilyn M.

    June 21st, 2015 at 5:08 PM

    ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ that name Thoe

  • Marilyn M.

    June 21st, 2015 at 5:07 PM

    Well. I bite the inside of my cheeks and the inside of my mouth like my tongue, lips, and cheeks….i do it to make them bleed.. And weird enough….I’ve done it ever since i was born….i guess it relieves anxiety for me….or stress,..but it can many bad things.

  • alissa

    June 26th, 2015 at 4:39 PM

    Biting for the blood is what I do. It is a form of self harm and might want to consider getting g help.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

    June 26th, 2015 at 8:31 PM

    Thank you for your comment, Alissa. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about self harm at http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-self-harm.html and additional information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • RobertJ

    June 29th, 2015 at 1:01 PM

    I do it because I get a strange pleasure out of chewing on the skin tissue… Scarily cannibalistic now I think about it!

  • Shannon Jane

    July 19th, 2015 at 1:10 PM

    I don’t know if you guys are still checking on this forum but I’ve had nail biting/cheek chewing/lip biting habits my whole life, I have the same weird pleasure in biting my cheeks etc, when I get a particular sized piece and chew it between my teeth and it has a particular texture? I feel like I’m crazy, I chew my cheeks 24/7 and I know I look like an idiot because sometimes I even push in my cheek from the outside with my hand if I can’t just grab the skin with my teeth. At the minute I’m trying to wean myself off it by chewing a child’s teething ring but I’m still thinking about biting my cheeks and I obviously can’t bring this out in public :(

  • Meredith

    June 24th, 2015 at 10:44 PM

    A little confused here. When I catch myself doing this, it’s because I’m really hungry, not stressed out about life. I’ve never broken the skin, made myself bleed, or developed sores. The only effect seems to be lumpy skin but I don’t chew it off. Is this just a really mild version of this problem?

  • April

    June 25th, 2015 at 6:34 PM

    I bite and have some it since I was 7 and I’m now 34. I bite when I’m nervous. I bite until I make an ulcer and then bite in a new place. I’m in pain as we speak. All 4 corners of my mouth have ulcers. And both cheeks are bitten. Uncontrollable urge and unbearable pain for at least a week. If it wasn’t for this numbing medicine I would have probably died by now.

  • Moe

    June 26th, 2015 at 1:00 PM

    I have done this for as long as i can remember and i stop for awhile but then i scratch my eyebrows away, and i do my top lip and bottom lip. My cheeks do not look pretty inside and i really can see where i bite the most at. I Shake my legs real bad too, and i always have to do something. I had a tongue ring i never bit my cheeks..i just played with it, but i was afraid of damaging my teeth so i removed it plus i had kids….It is good to know i am not the only one that has been doing this.

  • Shaun

    September 22nd, 2015 at 12:12 PM

    Chewing gum or sucking sweets is the only way to stop ,at least if you chew gum you ain’t chewing cheeks

  • John

    June 26th, 2015 at 4:30 PM

    Moe, are you diagnosed ADHD? Do you have trouble concentrating for periods long enough to, for example, learn math or other “thinking-related” things?

    I too get fidgety, though my “hot spots” are not as prevalent as yours. But I feel this build-up of nervous energy and need to release it physically.

    And I do. And it works! Specifically, I do a few strenuous floor exercises: stretching, pushups, situps, like that. The process releases a lot of nervous energy, so there’s less fidgeting afterward PLUS feel better physically for the rest of the day.

    In my twenties I was a cyclist and recently have got back into cycling, the road-racer variety. Every other day I do a 10 – 20 mile ride. Not too hard, but I’m working. Afterward I feel about 18 years old again (I’m 65).

  • Elaine

    June 27th, 2015 at 3:04 AM

    I have done this since early childhood. I am now 53. In my 30’s I ended up with a form of varicose veins inside my mouth as the scar tissue blocked blood vessels. The treatment for this was horrendous! It stopped me for a while but I went back to it on and off. My husband died 3 months ago and I have bitten constantly even in my sleep! I really don’t know how to stop I’ve bitten through gum shields and have done it while chewing gum. Nothing seems to work.

  • Alexandra

    June 28th, 2015 at 1:15 AM

    I’ve done this for as long as I can remember and now I’m 20 and I can’t stop. I don’t want to do it anymore because it irritates me but I think I do it in my sleep and sometimes I do it without even noticing.

  • katyaaya

    June 29th, 2015 at 1:52 PM

    i tried chewing gum nothing helps its just inside our mind its really hard to stop

  • katyaaya

    June 29th, 2015 at 1:49 PM

    it started biting my lips when i was 13 years old. i coppied this habit from my mother. but she stopped a year after i started. i just cant stop and the crazy thing is i bite more when i’m thinking about to stop.. i feel like a psychopath, i cant remember my self not doing it. its an addiction and it scares me cause i cant control it i just catch my self doing it..

  • Alexandra

    June 29th, 2015 at 2:28 PM

    Literally the same thing for me, it’s been making me question my sanity lately.

  • John

    June 29th, 2015 at 4:28 PM

    I’m jumping in here again to confirm that some strategies DO work, and that cheek biting is just a nervous habit, like nail biting. It does not indicate any level of insanity.

    As I said above, during the hours you are home or alone, wear a bite blocker. (Like the ones you get with a teeth whitening kit.) It’s impossible to chew when you wear a bite blocker.

    And while we’re on the subject, why not buy yourself an $11 teeth whitener kit and use as directed to reward yourself with whiter teeth as you go through the habit-breaking process? (Of course, you’ll use the whitener product only for a few minutes per day as directed. The rest of the time, the bite blocker will have nothing in it but your teeth!)

    Every hour you wear a bite blocker is an hour you don’t chew. And every hour you don’t chew gives you mouth a chance to revert to normal behavior, not opening and closing your jaw and sucking in your cheeks, etc.

    And when you remove the bite blocker (to eat, to talk on the phone, etc.) you will “catch yourself” when your tongue does its pre-chew exploration of your mouth. That’s the moment to assert your will and put your tongue back in its place!

    You’ll need to do this over and over. But there will be signs of progress. You’ll find yourself starting to chew less frequently. And as you sensitize yourself to the “pre-chew” process (for me it’s my tongue doing a 10-second survey of my mouth tissue), you will learn to unconsciously “snap” to alertness and stop the pre-chew ritual. This becomes a reflexive action, something you barely think about doing. Gradually your muscle memory learns that chew = bad.

    Keep at it, don’t be discouraged, and never give in to chewing. If you catch yourself chewing, stop immediately but do not beat yourself up about it. The habit took time to form and it will take time to break. And it’s not a big deal as habits go. Cheek chewing is no worse than nail biting and can be quit with the same amount of determination.

    Good luck!

  • Kyle

    July 3rd, 2015 at 11:13 AM

    Hi, I’m hopping someone could help me… I’ve recently started chewing the inside of my cheek, mainly on the right side and the more I do it the more damage and painful it is but I can’t seem to stop myself, I’ve never had this problem before and as I said its only been for a couple of weeks. I’m wondering how I stop this or is there any sort of medication??

  • Kay

    July 9th, 2015 at 4:57 AM

    After reading all the comments, I noticed one thing. We are all observative, mindful and honest people. Maybe we are just deep thinkers?

    I’ve been chewing my cheeks/mouth/nails forever. My cheeks and fingers become swollen and I hate it. It’s subconscious – usually when I’m over thinking or trying to conclude something in my head.

    As I get older – I’m now 26 – I notice its taking longer and longer for my cheeks to heal, its almost like my body is slowly giving up.

    The mouth guard idea is great I will try that next. Thank you for that advice! :)

  • olajide o.

    July 10th, 2015 at 2:44 AM

    i am 33+ now. i cant remember when i started cheek biting but i know it must be over 25 years. i cant remember haven’t been so close to anyone with such habit in my entire life. my twin brother would always have issues with me on that. now i must stop and extend the energy on some good habit.

  • Me

    July 10th, 2015 at 3:54 PM

    I am trying to find help for chronic mouth-biting, but I don’t understand how any of this fits? For me, it’s chronic in the sense that I do it very regularly, and have since I can remember, around 1st or second grade(I’m 51). But while it most definitely is chronic, I am certainly not chewing. It’s always accidental- eating, or talking, etc., and it hurts! Where does one find help for that scenario?

  • Andrew

    July 14th, 2015 at 1:54 PM

    Very interesting to find this and thank you for all the honest comments. I do this chronically. I am certainly no expert, but just guessing, It appears to me to be some type of syndrome, even if it is minor compared to others. There seems to be be a somewhat subconscious pleasure in lining up a piece of cheek skin between the teeth and then pulling slightly. It’s like I’m looking for the perfect pull, where it grabs a bit of skin and pops a little. It sounds completely insane when I see it in writing, but that is the reality. There is another facet to this behavior for me. It is the lining up of my teeth to where some sort of suction happens and then when I release, there is a small sensation or click. That is how this all began for me, probably 20 years ago. Teeth grinding, teeth suction and then cheek biting. What is really embarrassing, is when you see yourself in a video, chomping and biting away. Most of the time I do not realize I am doing it, but I have been much more aware recently, hence doing a search online. People are noticing and do mention it now. If I focus intently, I can stop, but that only lasts for a brief period and I’m back at it! I understand how it can be seen as related to stress and anxiety, but I think it is much deeper than that, for me at least. It has become so habitual that it is almost as natural as breathing, like muscle memory. I know it is mostly mental, so it can be beaten. It just takes focus and patience. I would guess that it falls into a similar category as “oral fixation”, where your mouth feels like it has to be doing something at all times, a problem that doesn’t help smokers at all. For me, gum helped, but then reading up on the adverse affects of certain ingredients in gum, mostly sugar (of course) but also aspartame and sucralose, I’m not chewing as much. But, gum does help to munch on for a while and provides relief to the inside of your mouth and gives your mouth something to do. I agree that maybe lowering stress levels can help, but also focusing on it more, making sure you aren’t doing it as much by more self-awareness, should help slowly but surely. It’s an ongoing challenge one way or another. Good luck to all!

  • John

    July 15th, 2015 at 2:33 PM

    Andrew, in case chewing doesn’t work, here’s how using a bite blocker helped me.

    I don’t like having a bite blocker in my mouth. I can’t talk, eat, or even drink. And it’s uncomfortable. When I first stopped chewing, I used the bite blocker almost non stop when working from home. Every minute I had the thing in, I wasn’t chewing. And I was always relieved to take it out.

    After several days I noticed I could remove the bite blocker and not automatically revert to chewing. I believe my muscle memory was “forgetting” about that self-soothing compulsion.

    But not completely! In unguarded moments the chewing would come back. When that happened, I’d re-insert the bite blocker immiediately. My Number 1 rule has always been, as soon as you catch yourself chewing, stop! Do not allow yourself a moment’s gratification.

    Eventually (and pretty quickly, within days) a subconscious connection formed between chewing and inserting the bite blocker. It was a negative connection. So when chewing entered my consciousness, it was a “gotcha” moment. In would go the bite blocker, almost as a punishment.

    It’s now got to the point where I can carry on mostly without the bite blocker, and without chewing. But if I catch myself in the early stages (tongue exploring mouth, etc.), I deliver myself an unltimatum: If I start chewing that damn bite blocker is going back in.

    And it turns out that I take my self-warnings seriously. I now go for hours without the temptation to chew. Chewing is now subconsciously associated with the discomfort of the bite blocker, and catching myself preparing to chew triggers a strong negative reaction, “No way!”

    It could be argued that the bite blocker has transformed the gratification of chewing into punishment.

    So if the gum doesn’t work out, I suggest the bite blocker route. It’s inconvenient but in a way that’s the reason for its higher possibility of success. (Plus, gum chewing makes a person look nearly as idiotic as cheek chewing!)

  • scincewewere18

    July 15th, 2015 at 8:02 PM

    Wow theres a lot of people with the same problem . I feel like im not alone in this :)

  • Trina

    July 26th, 2015 at 8:12 AM

    That’s exactly what I thought. … so determined to try and stop this out of control habit. …

  • Janet

    July 17th, 2015 at 1:17 PM

    I just recently started biting I seem to do it all day everyday I hate it I try to make myself stop but then I continue to do it without even realizing. I noticed that it started when I stopped taking some meds I was on for anxiety. I don’t want to be on the meds for ever so I just stopped but now I have this problem it’s actually pretty embarrassing. I am going to try some of these solutions hopefully one of them will work.

  • Brooklyn

    July 20th, 2015 at 7:56 PM

    I’m 13 and my doctor recently told me that for some people (me) it can also be caused by mental disorders, which is stated by the article, that inforce “self-inflicted pain” and this is what this can be a form ofโ€ฆ

  • Erin

    July 25th, 2015 at 2:58 PM

    Yeaterday I was watching tv and to co cerntrate I started biting my chcheeks but it wasnt hurting and I didnt actually realise what I was doing but now (the next day) I can barely open my mouth it is all split open and it looks asif I have two golf balls in my mouth on the inside it looks like 2 big blisters can someone please help as I do not no what to do thank you .

  • Trina

    July 26th, 2015 at 5:57 AM

    I have found all these comments so helpful. .. i have been doing this for about 10 years…..
    After reading people’s self help remedies , I have nearly stopped altogether. .. hopefully i can keep it up.
    I never realised how many people actually suffer with this condition. ..

  • Gianna

    August 1st, 2015 at 4:37 PM

    I’ve been chewing the inside of my mouth for about ten years now. I do it every few months. The pain following days after is completely unbareable. I chew so deep it sometimes takes weeks to heal and interferes with my daily activities. None of the over the counter medications for canker sores work. Mainly because it’s not a canker sore! Sometimes I chew in more than one spot at a time. It’s a terrible terrible habit. It’s been over a week and this one is so deep it’s only getting worse. I don’t know what to do anymore!

  • Nick

    September 9th, 2015 at 7:29 PM

    This website helped me a lot especially you. I bite my lips and toung to the point of unbearable pain and my toung and lips bleed nonstop. I do get stressed easily and I lose my temper very quickly my habit definitely defines the way my emotions are at the time. Thank you I thought I was the only “cheek biter” out there!

  • Mocha J.

    August 1st, 2015 at 10:17 PM

    I’ve always done this, although sometimes I go months without chewing.

    Maybe it’s a nervous habit, but I have sometimes done it when I felt itchy in an area of my mouth. Once I start biting and get the cheek really ragged, I try to bite it smooth again. Sometimes I even put my finger in there and scratch the roughness away and then play with the skin that comes out.

    I just did it a few days ago and at the same time that the ulcer came up, I started getting tenderness on my inside gum. I’ve only just had my dental checkup and cleaning (probably why I’m nervous enough to bite) so I think the infection of the ulcer has caused the tender gums. I notice one of my glands below my jawbone is a little sore too so that must be related.

    If it doesn’t go away at the same time as the ulcer I’ll go back to the dentist.

    I read that oral bacteria getting into the bloodstream is really bad for the heart, so I will try and use that as motivation to stop my biting.

  • Hope

    August 18th, 2015 at 10:11 PM

    How did you stop for that long. I’ve been biting since 5th grade and I’m nm starting college Monday. Seriously, how.

  • Rio

    August 5th, 2015 at 2:57 AM

    I bite my cheeks quite a lot, especially at school when I’m talking to my friends and it’s very subconscious but I don’t bite very hard unless its accidentally like when I’m eating

  • Desiraee

    August 5th, 2015 at 3:43 AM

    I bite my cheeks almost every day. But I think I do it out of boredom.I’ve been biting them for about 11 years now!

  • Felicia

    August 6th, 2015 at 7:00 AM

    I’ve been doing this for years, don’t know the exactly when I started, because I rarely realize when I’m doing it.
    My mother notices, and she always keeps telling me to stop, but a few minutes later I’m back at it.
    I know it’s stress related, I can’t handle any stressful situation normally, I even freak out if I have to make a phone call.
    Once I had too many scars inside my mouth, so I finally decided to stop. It went well for about two days, I occasionally started to bite, but that time I was more aware, and I was able to stop. But after two days, when my mouth healed, and it was completely smooth for the first time in years, hence no little piece to start on, my mind went crazy. I was feeling the skin every few minutes with my tongue, I knew I couldn’t bite, because it was healed, and my whole day there was this need for my “good old” habit to return, and I wasn’t able to concentrate on anything else fully.
    I felt so stupid and helpless. Finally I gave up, and started to bite. It felt like a cool glass of water for the thirst.
    I’m so glad I’m not addicted to drugs or anything worse than mouth-chewing, because I wouldn’t be able to stop for the life of me :(

  • Emnace

    October 6th, 2015 at 8:43 PM

    same with me, pLus bloodsucking . yea, when my cheek wall bleed i the blood and swallow it the fact that i like the taste worries me. been doing this for years, i think it started when i was on grade 6. Many things to catch up on school, then i resorted to this.

  • Ciara

    August 8th, 2015 at 2:52 PM

    I do this all the time as well as chewing the skin off my fingers (ew, I know)

  • Ky

    August 18th, 2015 at 3:54 AM

    Wow, I never realised this was such a big thing. I’ve been bitting my cheeks for a while now. I know I do it every day on the bus to and from school, so I’m pretty sure it’s because of boredom. Most of the time though, I never even realise I’m doing it. Pretty much everything that’s been said here is correct for me.

  • Sam

    August 18th, 2015 at 12:26 PM

    Hi, has anyone linked cheek biting to food intolerances? I’m doing an elimination diet at the moment to figure out some food issues and my cheek biting has reduced considerably. I’m wondering if there is a direct link to a particular food chemical or if just reducing food stress on the body has helped. I agree with another commenter who suggested cheek biting relates to a particular ‘ruminative’ personality type – this certainly correlates with my experience, thanks.

  • Joanna

    August 22nd, 2015 at 9:36 AM

    Hi,
    I do this! It must have been for a long time because I remember my uncle telling me it was horrible to watch as a child (now 29) I used to suck my thumb and bite my nails and skin around them until they were red raw, so I don’t recall any other family member moaning at me about my gums because they used to just moan about my thumbs and fingers all the time!

    I always have bitten the right side of my mouth. I think in spurts because sometimes it’s healed but I have a permanent line scar on the inside of my right gum. Recently (stressful job) I bite both sides and the inside of my lips too.

    I have bitten too hard before I think, but I don’t recall it being too painful and it heals quickly which is perfect! New gum for prime chewing time!!

    Lately, What I do find painful though is my teeth! I get really bad sensitivity now and again that lasts days and a few years ago I looked at my teeth in the mirror and noticed
    I’d ground down my teeth on the right side so much so, my once prominent fang was now flat as a pancake! I tried moving the the left side of my mouths at the time, where a fang still exists (lol) but I found it uncomfortable. Now though I go for both sides, some times at once, so my jaw and all my teeth can get quite painful!

    I told dentist and he said is ground down and so it was more nerves exposed hence the sensitivity. His advice…stop. I can’t though!

    Any suggestions For the grinding?

  • Kayla

    August 27th, 2015 at 2:30 AM

    I’ve been doing this since I was 5 years old. It seems impossible to quit. I try to not bite as deeply as I used to when I was younger. As a kid I would bite huge deep holes in my cheeks and lips and my lip would have a swollen lump on it for a few days. I know I sound crazy but I promise I’m not. I still chew the inside of my mouth every day, but I can’t stop. I seem it have to permanent lines or scars on each side of my cheeks. I hate it. The whole inside of my mouth feels rough which just makes me want to bite it more. But I do feel relieved seeing how many other people do this too.

  • Fred

    August 28th, 2015 at 10:18 PM

    Me too I could br where ever and I start. My parents tried to stop me one time and my mouth kept biting its mind controlling. Its scary sometimes because i cant stop. But gum help me alot. Try it but it only helps as long as you chew the gum.

  • Bryan

    August 29th, 2015 at 1:13 PM

    I do it all the time and thought I was Tue only one doing this. I would feel relive when I did this until it bleeds and I’m so embarrassed about it

  • Param

    August 30th, 2015 at 8:53 AM

    Hi I m very upset. some time while eating, skin came between teeth. What should I do. It’s very painful.

  • Paula

    October 9th, 2015 at 1:33 PM

    Rip the skin off & try to pull it as long as it can go without it braking off. Then chew on the skin as a treat. Yum!

  • nayeli

    October 10th, 2015 at 5:58 PM

    Hey I did the same thing and I still do I don’t know why tho I wish I could some just have to many problems

  • Lorraine

    September 1st, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    I think it could be a food allergy because when I take an antibiotic for something my cheek totally clears up for a long time and I don’t bite it because it is entirely smooth. Then all of a sudden one day the roughness comes back and I begin biting it again. It for me is not a bad habit or out of stress, it is because there is something there to bite off. After antibiotics I have no desire to bite because it is smooth and there is nothing there to bite. Wish I could take them every day but we know that’s not good.

  • Clare

    November 27th, 2015 at 4:39 AM

    I agree. It’s a medical issue for me. I found its mostly after I have used an asthma inhaler mouthpiece!

  • bella

    September 4th, 2015 at 4:45 PM

    This also causes mouth cancer

  • jay

    September 5th, 2015 at 1:17 AM

    Easy solution to make it smooth quickly.. after heavy biting use listerine or similar strong mouth freshener. Gargle and leave it in your mouth for a good 3-5 minutes. It may burn but it’s actually acting as antiseptic. You may feel dead skin waiting to be ripped off tempting you to start chewing again but don’t chew it anymore.. it will fall off on its own leaving behind smooth skin ready to eat some *****

  • Elisabeth

    September 5th, 2015 at 9:59 PM

    I have been chewing my cheeks since in middle school im now 36 i also scratch my cheek cells with my nails i wish i could stop this habit. Im hoping looking at this website will help me realize that others have problems like me. Im worried about the mouth cancer. My husband had brain cancer but hes in remission but hes crazy now. Its very stressful i have 2 kids 8 & 6 years old. Everyone thinks im handling this situation well but i scratch my cheeks & chew my cheek skin. Its a sick habit. Any advice to stop would be very appriciated!

  • Jonathan

    September 12th, 2015 at 9:42 PM

    Hey Elizabeth,
    I do exactly the same thing. I noticed it a couple months ago – the constant cheek biting, and then I would scratch the inside of my mouth to try an get rid of the dead/damaged skin. I know it has to do with stress that has now become a habit because of a certain personally issue I deal with. But I know one thing for sure that is helping me break this habit and relieve the stress – essential oils from a company called doTERRA. I have experienced others but these are definitely the ones that have the biggest impact for me. If you wouldn’t mind I can send you some of the ones that have really helped me deal with, not just this “stress relieving cheek biting” but other emotional and physical trauma. I’m sorry about your husband but I am glad the cancer is in remission. God bless – Jonathan

  • Jonathan

    September 12th, 2015 at 9:47 PM

    I guess I should have kept reading the comments because I had no idea this many people deal with this issue – not just Elizabeth. I wonder if there should be some kind of support group for this problem in order to figure out what types of stress or situations cause us to continually do this. Anyone from the Orange County, CA area?

  • Overton

    September 23rd, 2015 at 8:25 PM

    You are a seriously nice person. So far from OC but I wish I was there to be part of a support group, as I have the same problem. Good luck to everyone.

  • Kris

    November 12th, 2015 at 8:12 PM

    Hi Jonathan we are do terra reps and are wondering which oil(s) are recommended for this issue. Or is it a combination and in what application? Diffused, drink in diluted form, direct skin, ingest by caplet? Appreciate your knowledgeable reply!

  • jamie

    September 19th, 2015 at 10:26 AM

    I understand completely.. I also have been biting my cheeks …its annoying cuz it hurts bit I keep doing it..I want help…mynlips crack and hurt..I scratch too if I cant get skin wirh teerh..I donr know what to do

  • Amanda

    September 21st, 2015 at 8:30 AM

    I have struggled with this for so long. I’ve recently become so aggressive with it because of my high stress situation (starting the divorce process) . I want to stop , but i do it without even thinking about it. I usually chew my cheek but sometimes the skin on my lip. Today I woke up with a sore on my lip and I’m thinking it’s related.

  • Bythewayside

    September 15th, 2015 at 4:35 PM

    I chew gum a lot. It helps. (Essential oils I read on here might help too. Check them out.)

  • JONATHAN

    September 20th, 2015 at 2:43 PM

    Hey, sorry I don’t mean for this to sound like an ad or anything, but I recently posted on this website because I was going through the same issues as you guys have, but I have successfully stopped this habit by using doterra’s essential oils! I am super happy about it because I had been constantly biting my cheeks for at least the last year and then I realized, once I had enough, to see which oils at home would help with this. I started diffusing the oils, and drinking some in my water and I can honestly say that I have no more urge to bite. I know that probably a majority of you guys are not from Southern California like me so if you would like samples I wouldn’t mind sending some so you can try for yourselves. Just send me an email – Jonathan

  • Say

    September 25th, 2015 at 3:45 AM

    What kind of oil did you use? I like this option

  • Dannii

    September 26th, 2015 at 2:36 PM

    I’ve bought the Doterra oil starter kit so I am very glad to hear that this has helped you. Which oils worked the best?

    I have been a chronic cheek biter since I was 6 years old. I am now 42, so I would love to find a solution to this.

  • sherry

    November 10th, 2015 at 7:16 PM

    Would like to try the oils

  • Ebony

    September 25th, 2015 at 2:39 AM

    mine is the worst, because i think it’s not stress related or boredom but because i like doing it though i know i have to stop,i can’t . i also do it unconsciously,but when i realise i keep doing it because i like it and am used to it

  • Courtney

    September 28th, 2015 at 11:51 PM

    I only do it at night when i only have a cough i cant stop it il wake up every so often and just start biting my cheeks so bad it hurts but i cant stop

  • Sara

    October 4th, 2015 at 1:31 PM

    I have had this problem since I was a child. I can’t stop. Sometimes I’ll go a month without doing it, but I mindlessly start again. It gets so bad that it starts hurting and burning when I leave it alone that I have to continue biting so it won’t hurt anymore. I have scars all inside my mouth from this. I also have a habit of pushing my gums up with my nails on my canine teeth(sp?) my gums are permanently lifted on those teeth.. I don’t know if anyone else has this problem but it’s serious. I have very bad anxiety and I believe that’s the reason for my compulsive chewing

  • Destiny

    October 9th, 2015 at 6:58 PM

    I am 20 I thought I chewed my check because of my adhd but I’m happy to know finally what’s going on I’m so lost it is embarrassing I don’t even know when I’m doing it

  • Tracie

    October 8th, 2015 at 4:52 PM

    I’m happy, yet saddened, to find that there are so many people out there who feel exactly as I do!
    I used to bite my nails. It was so bad my nails were always short, uneven, and bloody/scabbed. My mom was so sick of my habit so she pressured me constantly to stop. Eventually (I suppose I was around 5 or 6) I started chewing the inside of my mouth full time. My mom was so proud of me for letting my nails grow out. As an adult, she tells me to stop biting my lip and I tell her that I’ve been doing it since I stopped biting my nails. Of course she doesn’t believe me, but I have the scarring to prove it. When other people make those stupid faces by pulling on their mouth with their fingers, I wouldn’t. At 25, doing this for 20 years now, the scarring is so bad my mouth doesn’t stretch too much.
    And yet, I still never thought it was so horrible because it was a coping mechanism. My ex would always yell at me to stop because I made really dumb looking faces when I was chewing, but it only made me want to keep doing it. I’ve only been prompted to look into it as I’ve had a swollen lymph node on the back of my neck for the better part of this year. It will shrink from time to time, but flare right back up. Nobody knows why. My Dr just keeps giving me antibiotics without knowing what’s wrong with me. I’m never sick when it gets so bad that the side of my head is swollen. But all the sites that recommended there may be a link between cheek biting and oral cancer scares me.
    I’m now almost 72 hours into not biting my skin and this is the smoothest the inside of my mouth has been in years, since I was taking antidepressants for severe anxiety. It takes a tremendous amount of focus, and now I know what they mean by using meditation and practicing being in the moment to help alleviate anxiety.
    It’s not good for us. I feel for every one of you and hopefully we can all figure out our own way to make it stop for good.

  • nayeli

    October 10th, 2015 at 6:03 PM

    I think I started doing this when I was 11 and I still haven’t stopped doing it that’s why i font like going to the dentist because they tell me to stop but I can’t vi don’t know why and I’m scared of the cancer thing

  • Meep

    October 12th, 2015 at 8:24 AM

    I’ve been biting since as far back as I can remember. It was the only undetectable nervous outlet I had (I learned to hide it rather well). Since I wasn’t allowed any form of negative expression, the stress ultimately lead to self-injury. These days I know my childhood was abusive, but at the time I didn’t.

    Exercise definitely helps, even when it’s gentle (like Yoga, Chi Gong, Tai Chi, etc.), but I do the crazy stuff since it makes it harder to bite myself.

    I think it’s also related to my early diet – mostly food sensitivities, and malnutrition. Before I started biting, I remember being force-fed food that made me nauseous. Constipation was also an issue, and over time I stopped eating as much.
    Through trial and error, I’ve learned I have multiple food sensitivities, so this could explain why I hated eating. Of course, as a kid it just looked like I was picky. Eating more protein seems to stop my need to bite (if only temporarily).

    If you have mouth ulcers, these could also be allergy/food related (I’m allergic to most toothpastes).
    Avoiding foods that trigger them also seems to stop the burn/itch that makes me want to bite in the first place.

    Malnutrition can provoke anxiety, and some sources claim there is a link between high stress and poor digestion (as well as autoimmune diseases). Anxiety could be the cause, as well as a symptom. I’m not sure what caused what with me, but it could be worth looking into.

  • Matt

    October 12th, 2015 at 11:28 PM

    Well, I’m 32 and I’ve been biting my cheeks/lips since first grade, so around 25 years. Then I would bite it into strips with one end attached to my mouth, and stretch the strip over my tongue and lip. Now I bite my tongue aswell , mostly pulling single taste bud bumps off and situating it between teeth to achieve suction and an eventual pop that someone else also posted about. I also bite at my cuticles a bit.

    I don’t bitemy cheeks for pain or blood but sometimes get it. My tongue though I do kinda enjoy the sharp pain.. Very odd considering I’ve never cut or even considered cutting.

    I hate this habit and I’m determined to break it. So far the best thing to prevent is to substitute. I used pot stems tonight, I’ve used toothpicks before, and I plan to try drypasta as someone else mentioned it above. FYI I’m on the wagon and not smoking ATM but have access too stems, the taste is pleasant to a former smoker. I love the whitening tray idea and plan to bring that into my plan soon. ATM my tinge and cheeks are fairly bitten up. I will update regularly with things that are or are not working. Good luck fellow mouth biters. It was much easier for me to stop smoking pot than stop this..

  • Holly

    October 15th, 2015 at 6:55 AM

    I have chewed and biten for as long as I can remember! But I can’t put my habit down to stress or boredom because I do it all the time. I know I do it particularly when I’m really deep in thought. Despite having this hobbit for years and years I’ve only just realised how bad it is. I’ll be walking along the street and be aware that I look like an idiot making strange facial expressions but I still don’t stop! I would like to find a solution but not exactly sure where to start. It’s so nice to know I’m not alone with this.

  • cheyenne

    October 16th, 2015 at 8:00 AM

    Hello. I fall in this category. I bite my cheeks so much they hurt so bad I get horrible migraines. I don’t only bite my cheeks I bite my tongue too and they both hurt rediculously bad. Idk what to do. I have tried so many things and nothing seems to work.
    If I finally stop for a bit my cheeks and tongue sting and burn and worse worse then when I did bite them. Idk if anyone else has this issue but if anyone has solutions. I would be glad to try about anything.

  • Jessica

    October 19th, 2015 at 3:10 PM

    All, I’d be very wary of someone claiming to send you a free sample of a product from a certain company, rather than just listing the oils that you can buy from many reputable companies. Repetitively mentioning one specific company is a red flag for spamming.
    That being said, fellow lifelong cheek-biter here. I’m trying to find out essential oils to try that might help with mindfulness and taking away the chewing urges. I, like many of you, have had a range of BFRB’s throughout my life, and cheek biting is my current major one, affecting my teeth now. If anyone knows of specific oils to try, not from one company but the actual oils themselves, that might be helpful to the rest of us.

  • Jonathan

    October 20th, 2015 at 2:28 AM

    Hey Jessica,
    So when does scamming have to do with someone trying to help others who have dealt with the same issue that I had? If you read my comments I listed the oils that have helped but I am sure there are skeptics out there so that is why I said I would be willing to send some samples. It is tragic now a days that those with good intentions of trying to help others is claimed to be “spamming” – sorry you feel that way but it is just a fact that the certain oils that have helped me came from one company and I can only claim that these ones worked because it is what I tried and it really worked.
    I like to be an optimist so I’m sure your comments were not made to be negative or demeaning but know that my comments are here to help those who want it and need it (by the way no one has yet to contact me for those samples so this blog/message board might be just for those who want to say stuff instead of looking for ways to stop this behavior) Have a great one and good luck – Jonathan

  • Jan

    October 22nd, 2015 at 6:12 PM

    It’s really comforting to know that there are so many of us out there, sighz. I am not the only one, what a relief. I used to suck my finger as a child, but after a while resorted to eating the insides of my cheeks. I do hate the habit as it’s harmful to oral health, but it has become a part of me, so much that I do it subconsciously…and to make things worse I also have the habit of pulling out strands of my hair. I do it whenever im nervous, bored or deep in thought…I wish we had a prescription we could take that would kick the habit.

  • Kelly

    October 24th, 2015 at 8:50 PM

    I have bit my mouth since I was 13 due to stress and to cope.I am pretty bad,I do this when I am stressed out,I bite my mouth until it bleeds and I like the pain but if I do it to much I do get small ulcers..it’s my body saying stop.I am 43 and still do this but off and on..I feel I do it to take my mind off stress.It drives me crazy!

  • Luke

    October 26th, 2015 at 3:46 AM

    This is just something i find mysrlf doing from i was a child. Got so caught up doing it not even know when and why am doing this crazy eating lol but the greatest thing it didnโ€™t affect me in any negative way like sore etc, even when i was in high school i saw one of my friend with the same habit so then i realize that am not the only addicted one. While growing up and figure how uncomfortable my face look with my lips twisted all around the one side of my face i tried to stop but oh my thatโ€™s a hard task. Now am 26 and couple years ago i figure out that when i eat especially spicy food, brushing my teeth over the average time, have some candy lets say once my mouth is active those are a few things that give me a ease, then i force myself to stop but every now and then like for the past couple weeks i keep doing this crazy thing but when i came to this website and read i figure STRESS is one of the main issue cause while doing it my mind all over the universeโ€ฆ.

  • Sabrina

    October 26th, 2015 at 2:07 PM

    I just do it because I like the blood. No stress or anxiety to it to be honest. I do it almost everyday though because it heals very quickly.

  • Anon

    November 3rd, 2015 at 1:28 PM

    Vampire!

  • Lauren

    January 6th, 2016 at 4:50 PM

    Same! I do chew when I’m bored, too. I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember. I never see anyone else in my school making twisty faces, and I have no idea if anyone else does.

  • leah

    October 28th, 2015 at 8:58 PM

    I have bit my cheeks as long as I can remember and recently got a huge bleeding ulcer. My boyfriend finally made me realize and admit the compulsion. I just want to stop! But I cant and I bite huge deep painful holes and have even had bruising and swelling on the outside of my face from this. Its so embarrassing! I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder and am medicated but still can’t stop. Its horrible.

  • Ellie

    November 3rd, 2015 at 4:09 PM

    Hi :)
    I do this as well and I’ve found that if I’m chewing gum I won’t bite my cheeks. Maybe you could try this? I constantly have gum in my mouth bc it’s not like I can just get gum when I feel the urge to bite my cheeks when I do it without noticing.

  • Lily

    November 10th, 2015 at 12:09 PM

    I started biting the inside of my cheeks after seeing my older cousin doing it and I was a kid then. I was curious about what exactly is he doing with his mouth because his lips were always twisted. So since then I started biting mine till now. But I’m trying to quit biting my cheeks, though sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. I bite it when I’m bored or stressed not even noticing that I’m doing it but I don’t bite it when I’m occupied like I totally forget.

  • Mary

    November 11th, 2015 at 3:04 AM

    I’m guilty of making weird twisty face expressions, & trying to bite into each area of my mouth that feels smooth. I have been doing this since childhood, when I feel stressed, bored, & deep in thought. It’s weird sometimes I don’t realize I’m doing it, other times I know & I just can’t stop until I feel satisfied with biting. The only time I stopped was when I had braces for 3 yrs as an adult. I felt so happy having stopped this habit of biting. I then enjoyed rubbing my tongue against the metal & that kept me occupied. My braces are off & again I so this. Dentist told me to have gum or small tiny ball to roll around my mouth when I get the urge. This has not helped me, but keeping my retainers in my mouth does help a little. It’s really hard to mentally stop oneself. I have relapse often. I’ll go days & weeks of no biting & then bang I’m back to square one. I’m just annoyed & disappointed with myself. It really is compulsive behaviour. Which is odd because I don’t have any other mental issues. On a weird note I feel relieved others feel like I do.

  • Serge

    November 11th, 2015 at 7:48 AM

    I Bite the inside of my mouth whenever I’m eating its very irritating how can I stop this its not me. I have to stop eating whenever I do bite myself I just wish it would stop the inside of my mouth has ulcers on the inside of my cheeks but it’s not because of stress it just happens whenever I’m eating and I just reach out my teeth and bite the inside of my cheeks

  • Phase24

    November 13th, 2015 at 4:46 PM

    I am so glad I’m not alone. I bite the inside of my cheeks but also the insides of my lips. I too have been diagnosed with anxiety and feel it’s triggered by stress. I’m a SHM with 2 toddlers, who up until I got married always worked. Staying home has been a huge change for me and I’m not one for change lol. Just feels good to know I’m not alone.

  • Kelly

    November 14th, 2015 at 5:53 AM

    I don’t chew the inside of my mouth often, but when I do it’s because the inside of my mouth is itchy. I bite because it scratches the itch. I find though that I start doing it more and more without realising it. I end up with sore ulcers and swollen lips.
    I also have Trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling) & Dermatillomania (compulsive skin picking) and now I’m wondering if this is related too.

  • Banana

    November 17th, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    I have been biting my cheeks, tongue, lips for as long as I can remember! I can’t stop! I have depression and anxiety! I don’t get mouth ulcers anymore.. I don’t think my mouth has enough time for them to form! I pull my cheeks to try get further back! The only time it’s really painful anymore, is when I eat! It stings! I kind of like it though! I really need to stop. People comment on it all the time, tell me to stop pulling my mouth! I know when I’m doing it!

  • Alex

    November 17th, 2015 at 2:10 PM

    I can’t stop biting my lips. I’ve only recently got in the habit, and it’s so bad. My lips are always bleeding, and I’ve got a huge blister taking up nearly half of my bottom lip, and another on the corner inside of my mouth. I can’t stop the habit and I can’t afford to get chewing gum all the time :(

  • Mommy 421

    November 18th, 2015 at 10:40 AM

    As a little girl i watched my mom chew on her lips and mouth and now I do it all the time. It has gotten worse since I had my daughter.I find myself biting when I’m bored, stressed, anxious-the while time I was reading this article I was biting my lip. Everyone tells me to stop, but if I could with out gum or therapy that would be great.

  • olivia

    January 9th, 2016 at 11:26 PM

    Hi I feel your struggle. What works for me is accepting it may be due to slight ocd tendencies. With no therapy it is hard to totally eradicate. Therefore …start to obsess over keeping the tip of your tongue touching the back of the front two teeth. Even imagine yourself with ugly wrinkles all around your mouth and small lips if your tongue isnt there. It will start to feel comforting having it there. This position will ensure that the rght amount of oxygen goes through to your brain and you will feel more alert and less anxious. Start to enjoy the feeling of your tongue in an upright position and almost go into panic when you start biting again. Start to associate biting with an ugly face and expenive dental bills.

  • Raine

    November 19th, 2015 at 4:22 PM

    I have been biting my cheeks and lips for years, I don’t know how to stop. I’ve been told that its because I have an overbite and my teeth are different sizes. I’ve tried just about everything, what do I do?

  • Lin

    November 24th, 2015 at 11:16 AM

    I have done this since I was a young teenager… I bite and chew so much and can’t stop. I bite until I bleed and I just keep going. It sounds gross but I like the taste of the blood and I like chewing the skin. I have bipolar disorder and anxiety and it’s so compulsive for me. I get the little bumps inside my bottom lip. I’m worried about wrinkles because of twisting my mouth so much. I’m so embarrassed and I hate it. I can’t chew gum because I swallow lots of air when I do. Glad to know I’m not alone.

  • Zoe

    November 29th, 2015 at 7:50 PM

    So glad I’m not alone! I’ve been biting the inside of my lips since high school. While I don’t mind the taste of blood, I mostly just do it subconsciously whenever I’m feeling anxious or stressed. I usually don’t realize when I’m biting until it’s too late and I already have a sore forming.

  • Knich

    December 7th, 2015 at 3:21 AM

    I bite the insides of my cheeks as well as the skin around my nails. Both are bleeding constantly and it’s quite embarrassing at times. I get anxiety attacks sometimes and I’m wondering if I should go see a therapist? I’ve been biting my fingers for years but it’s gotten way worse lately. Gum doesn’t help anymore. Anyone have any suggestions?

  • Raine

    December 7th, 2015 at 8:40 AM

    I do the exact same thing and I know how you feel, the reason why you do it is probably because your mouth is uneven in some way. For me I have a slight overbite and my teeth are different sizes. My guess is that your brain is subconsciously doing the same thing.

  • Robert

    December 7th, 2015 at 12:52 PM

    What if you bite the inside of your mouth let’s say about once a month and no more? I think it is not related to a compulsive issue it just happens. It seems like in todays’ world if your body does something it is related to something (stress, anxiety, etc.). I don’t believe in all that Hocus Pocus

  • Joe p.

    December 27th, 2015 at 8:19 AM

    I only bitever inside myout and I just can’t stop I’m glad I’m not a alone.I do not have anxiety or anything like that and I’m always biting inside my slcheek I’m oing it right now how do I stop

  • Chisa

    January 2nd, 2016 at 7:08 PM

    I have bitten my cheeks since i was 14, im almost 24 now. I literally do it all day long. Ive always thought it was an OCD problem. Although i doo suffer anxiety and depression with no medication.
    Its as soon as i feel skin i can tear off, its all i cant think about and I need to get it off. Its like an OCD. But im not sure what it is. I do it without noticing. I do it literally everyday, all day. Not to where it bleeds though. (Sometimes it does) but i do, again, to just rip the skin off. It sounds gross, and I couldnt tell you the reasoning i do this. Im glad i just googled this and it lead me to this. Im glad Im not alone.
    I wonder if i ever will break this habit.

  • braeden

    January 5th, 2016 at 4:06 AM

    I’m 16 IV been doing for a couple years now it’s good knowing other people do it also and its not only me

  • barb

    January 19th, 2016 at 4:00 PM

    55 yr old female.
    Been chewing inside of cheeks, lips and sometimes my tongue for as long as I can remember

    Your tongue grows back!!
    The horrible lines and wrinkles around
    Your mouth and your upper lip, make you look like you smoked your whole life.
    Never have. Ruined my face. Stop if you can.

  • Paige

    January 22nd, 2016 at 9:10 PM

    This is scary how much this sounds like me. I always thought I was the only one who did this.

  • E.S.A

    January 12th, 2016 at 5:46 AM

    I just want to know whether this is a serious problem

  • Geaige

    January 22nd, 2016 at 4:48 PM

    Guilty as charged. I find the best way to combat this is to always carry a pack a gum. When you catch yourself chewing your cheek. Pop a piece.โ˜บ

  • Sara

    January 22nd, 2016 at 9:06 PM

    I noticed that when I quit drinking coffee the cheek buying stopped. I’m going to give that a try. I feel less stressed.

  • Alex I

    January 25th, 2016 at 9:18 PM

    Can anyone else relate to what I do…I nibble but just barely on the walls of my mouth. It is so strange and hard to explain but I barely feel like my teeth grab any inner mouth wall skin although when I release the bite of whatever I got, I get a small popping noise from the release of the skin. I’m addicted to it and weirded out by it. Other people can even hear me doing it!.. can anyone relate ?

  • k

    January 26th, 2016 at 5:53 PM

    I’m 30 and only started this habit recently..I also bite my nails until they hurt and very short…I also suffer from OCD and become very agitated in unclean surroundings. I just remembered that I grew up seeing my dad chewing on his cheeks and I decided to look it up. Never i thought this was an issue to so many. I just want to stop it all

  • Zamin

    January 27th, 2016 at 11:09 AM

    How can i stop this habit of chewing my cheeks?

  • Emily

    February 3rd, 2016 at 11:15 AM

    I am 17 and I have been doing this since I was about 11. I hate it! It is very unattractive for me twisting my lips and even using my finger to push forward the smooth skin. I bite my lips and even my tongue too! YUCK! Well at least now I don’t feel alone.

  • okereke

    February 22nd, 2016 at 7:19 AM

    Mine is not a habit. My teeth suddenly clamps together and i bite my tongue or the inner part of my mouth. I wound myself each time. When the dentist did inner cleaning of my teeth, this problem stopped. I am so happy, i hope it does not occure again.

  • Amy

    February 24th, 2016 at 6:39 PM

    I’ve been biting my cheeks for at least 10 years due to stress at a young age from a bad upbringing. It was my way of coping but only just figured out that I have been doing it to cope with anxiety, for most my childhood life. I’ve had a problem with stress that I never even knew about as a child… It’s a massive issue for me that needs to be sorted at this point I’ve had enough and it’s getting worse and worse, I’m absolutely obsessed with it.

    I do it every day for hours just constantly chewing and peeling the skin with my teeth whilst my hand is pressed against my face so I can chew on skin easier. I’ve even got that stressed out not being able to bite certain parts of my cheeks that I’ve had to use eyebrow tweezers so I was able to peel at the skin that my teeth couldn’t reach making me realise that eyebrow tweezers are amazing at getting skin and ending up peeling large chunks of skin off with them and continuing to peel and pick at skin whilst my mouth was bleeding and in agony.

    I forever have the taste of blood in my mouth for doing it every day of my life for 10 years so violently it’s becoming a real problem for me. I just want someone to read this and give me the answers that I need to stop this bad habit/coping mechanism.

  • Sherry

    March 16th, 2016 at 1:36 PM

    I have been doing this since I was 3 or 4 years old. I know I bite the inside of my mouth from stress and anxiety and also when I drive the car, as an adult. I have stopped only for 2 months here or there, when I am put on an antibiotic for whatever reasin, my mouth heals up really fast so I will wake up in the moring once on the antibiotic a few days and I notice my mouth is smooth. I make an effort not to bite and it lasts about 2 months and then something happens and i am back at it again. I bite until my mouth bleeds on my cheeks, my lips, everywhere. I feel it makes my breath smell bad, and so I am self consicous about my breath. I have TMJ problems and my ears ring from chewing and contorting my cheeks so much. I HATE that I do this!!!!!! I want to stop. I am 53 years old and I am still trying to stop!!! I had a thermography done on my thyroid recently and they noticed that my mouth area seemed hot, they thought I had a problem going on with my teeth. I was too embarrassed to tell them what I do to myself, to cause the heat they saw!!! My tongue is constantly running along the inside of my mouth. So,k to try to stop this habit, I work to keep my tongue still and not constatnly searching for the rough skin. Chewing gume helps, also. But I cant’ chew too much gum or my jaws hurt. So I am trapped. But, I am determined to stop this nasty habit!!!!!!

  • Chrismarie

    April 1st, 2016 at 10:58 AM

    ok this is just ridiculous like seriously

  • Folly

    April 2nd, 2016 at 1:14 PM

    Hello everyone, I thought I was alone on this. This is the first time I’m looking this up. Thank God. I hate that I look retarded more than half the time and I don’t even know when I start biting my cheek. Sometimes I support the cheek with my thumb to push the cheek in for a nicer feeling.
    Only noticed recently that I bite when I am stressed and my mum being a superstitious Nigerian thinks there’s something wrong with me.
    I’m just glad now I know what it is

  • LYNN

    April 2nd, 2016 at 1:54 PM

    Its shocking to see how many people have this problem. i always knew it was from anxiety, I have social anxiety and I even notice I do it when Im watching a movie or driving. I never knew how damaging it was to me. The inside of my cheek is all bruised up its purple. I have a dentist appt the end of the month and I got xrays done recently he didnt mention the bruise, but I didnt notice either. lol I was actually biting my lip typing this and had to stop myself. My mom just passed from Cancer, So its scary knowing that this condition might lead to that. I need to do my research and ask my dr about this leading to cancer because right now I’ve just read a few comments. I bite all over my mouth but my cheeks feel the best. I even bite the area under my lip..Sigh I may look into these mouth guards like someone suggested. It just feels natural to do it. It feels good relaxing

  • Justme

    April 4th, 2016 at 1:28 AM

    I am 67 years old, and started biting the inside of my mouth, specifically inside my lower lip, when I was very young (have a picture of me doing this when I was 4). Had my first anxiety attack when I was 7 years old when I started singing in front of a PTA group, and had to stop, and was so ashamed of myself, even at that young age. Was a bed wetter until around 12/13 years of age. I have mitral valve prolapse with frequent irregular heartbeats, migraine headaches with aura, TMJ, chronic chest wall inflamation, repeat words over and over in my mind within 3 days of not taking Zoloft, have had hypoglycemia since around 13 years old, had a TIA about 3 years ago, and the list goes on. I am an intelligent person, but have always felt that I never quite measure up to what I think I should be. Worked as a dept. head secretary for 32 years with great evaluations, but did everything but stand on my head to avoid public speaking when I was told ahead of time I would have to do so (yet spontaneous, spur-of-the-minute speaking in front of a group of people is not a problem for me). I have developed the opinion that I was born with anxiety, maybe due to an autoimmune disorder of some kind. If I take a med like Xanax, it will stop the biting until the med wears off, but stopped taking that med long ago because it is an addictive drug, and just not good for our brains. I have tried mouth guards, chewing gum, numbing the inside of my lip, all to no avail. I have prayed for healing from this disorder for years, but now whenever I realize I am biting my mouth, I immediately stop, go look at my now-wrinkled lips in the mirror, and pray specifically for the Lord to calm me and give me strength to not continue the biting. Finally, my parents allowed me to eat a lot of candy and other sugary foods from childhood on, and I really do believe excessive (and maybe even regular) sugar consumption is a major reason for the anxiety we all experience, and the one most harmful thing we partake of. I went on a diet a number of years ago after gaining a lot of weight from childbirth, ate one peanut butter sandwich during the day (1/3 for breakfast, 1/3 at lunch, and 1/3 mid-afternoon), and then ate 1 heaping tablespoon of each veggies and meat at supper, drank nothing but water (and lots of it), and at the end of two months had lost 30 pounds and felt the best I ever have in my life. Final analysis: eat healthy meals, exercise, and pray often!

  • Aaron

    April 16th, 2016 at 11:21 AM

    Yeah I’ve been doing this for at least 4-5 years now. Idk if you notice, but if you’re an avid cheek chewer it causes sore throat and pimples much more often, like if you accidentally swallow the dead skin or it gets on your face.. It’s a really disgusting habit and I wish I could stop completely. I used to bite my nails as a child and as an adolescent but when I stopped nail biting, it changed into this truly disgusting crap. Tbh I think nail biting is worse for your health because you’re constantly putting germs into your mouth. But this habit ferrets more addicting. Sometimes you can use nail clippers to fix nails, but you can’t fix your mouth. On some occasions I spend like half an hour or more in public restrooms just trying to get myself to stop bleeding. This habit tends to take over more often when I’m feeling depressed, lonely, or lacking confidence. Best advice I can give is Try using mouthwash and toothache gel often. I’ve found that if you can get the pain (which is so satisfying that it’s not really even painful, which makes you want to tear away more and more skin) to stop, and give it a little while to heal up a bit, it’s pretty easy to avoid the chewing for awhile. So sorry to anybody who has this habit… It’s awful, embarrassing, and addicting.

  • George

    April 16th, 2016 at 1:13 PM

    I have been cheek chewing as far back as I can remember and have tried a number of ways to stop, even a lower mouth guard, this is not occasional biting but constant, my dentist has advised a hospital visit as my constant biting is extreme, I done believe I will ever stop and now just take the criticising comments when gurning to get to the areas which I difficult to reach. Even the pain and ulcers are usually bitten out its that bad, then a swig of wine to elevate the pain as I’m discussed with myself, so your not alone. On top of al that I occasionally smoke so that increases the possibility of mouth cancer, what kind of sadistic person am I, I just can’t stop

  • Elouise

    April 26th, 2016 at 2:43 AM

    Hi, I’m here as an ex cheek biter of approx 20 years. Today something significant became apparent to me so I wondered if there were psychological reasons for childhood cheek biting and wanted to find a logical explanation for it as I was a manic cheekbiter from a young age (don’t know when I started, maybe 7 but now 46) until about 10 years ago when I realized one day i wasn’t biting anymore but I’d also become addicted to chewing gum until I banned it last year. As a child I was ridiculed by my mother for chewing, she’d say things like no one will ever love me with holes in my cheeks etc but I just kept digging, favoring the right side and forcing my fist into my cheek to get deeper. When I started working years later the cheek biting decreased during the day but I made up for it at night, the skin getting thinner and less chewy so I started on the other side and this continued until it stopped 10 years ago. Fast forward a few years of not biting and the effects became apparent – visible tiny veins covered the thinnest patch and my now constant nightmare – deep crease wrinkle. That’s only the superficial symptoms and pretty minor compared to what happens to our structural body alignment from years of unnatural and forced jaw movement – that is the big problem. Last year I had a major spiritual crisis in the form of a spontaneous awakening of a powerful internal energy called kundalini (we all have this ) It took me by surprise as I was not spiritually minded and it turned my life into chaos but has also shown me how the body can heal itself so for the last 18 months my spine has been releasing all structural traumas and blockages I’ve incurred throughout my life. It’s incredible to observe this flow of energy and now that I understand what is happening I can see the purpose of the different pathways the energy chooses at that time to heal different blockages, these can take weeks of energy breaking through before I go “aha”. Today I had a massive “aha” during an intensive session around my right shoulder/neck/jaw and when the release started it was so strong I thought I’d break something but then saw a vision of me as a little girl chewing my cheek and everything made sense!! The jaw has thousand of nerves that join every tendon/muscle/joint/ligament in our bodies. The jaw is the carrier of all tension/emotion/expression as well as fight/flight response so over the years it’s constantly being subconsciously loaded up with tension and in time manifests into problems with back/hips/knees/neck/joints in people that have never habitually chewed their cheeks. Imagine then how much stress us chewers have caused to our jaw alignment, particularly those of us that started young while our bodies were developing. Structural/postural issues may not be apparent yet or even visible to you but I know for a fact that internally there’s a twisted mess of tight strings waiting to snap. I’ve been wearing a mouth guard to bed for years as my teeth grinding is ridiculous – jaw tension causes this (chewing gum big culprit) as it tries desperately to release while we are sleeping. A simple release exercise to start with is to sit quietly with mouth slightly open, tip of tongue very gently touching behind front teeth or roof of mouth and just let the jaw hang and relax for at least 60 secs until you feel it start to release, may take a few goes but for those that still chew this will take your mind off it. When in stress mode and feel the need to chew put tip of tongue between teeth like you are gently biting down on the tip and just let the jaw relax. I do this when out walking my dog or whenever my neck is feeling tight. The benefits and onflow effects of releasing tension in the jaw in a subtle way like I’ve mentioned are endless. Good luck xx

  • Steph

    May 1st, 2016 at 10:32 PM

    Wow.. always wondered if other people do it, i hate when people catch me doing it because normally im stareing
    into space at the same time lmaoo

  • Natalie

    May 10th, 2016 at 5:48 PM

    I think mine is an extreme version I look at lots of these discussion sites and no one describes their biting as bad as mine. I literally chew down to the muscle or tendon, you know when you hit it,the texture is way different. The inside of one entire side is chewed on. I’ve done it as long as I can remember, I don’t think it’s stress related for me, something to do I guess. It’s painful but it’s an addicting pain, I love chewing on the chunks of cheek I bite off.

  • Krissy

    May 14th, 2016 at 11:44 PM

    I do this! And have as long as i can remember. And I only looked it up because I’m doing it right now. It comes and goes. I’ll go months, even years without doing it. But if life gets super stressful, I take it out on the inside of my mouth. More specifically, right below my lip. My tooth digs in just the right spot that I can just shred it up so much that a couple times I thought I was going to get all the way through. When I look at the inside of my lip it is covered in scars from this awful coping mechanism/habit. Don’t even notice I’m doing it at first. Then it becomes impossible not to do it.

  • Davo

    May 21st, 2016 at 7:56 PM

    I have this problem too, I like the tooth cap comment i will try it . I am positive it is stresss/anxiety. After fishing at my favorite ,quite, peaceful lake for one day i realized i wasnt biting my lips or cheeks and didnt until i was driving back to work after vacation.

  • Tyrone

    June 4th, 2016 at 3:40 PM

    This was a very helpful discussion. Thank you, now I understand my issue. It is definitely stress related. I have to fight back mentally. But it is so crazy that at times it even tastes good and that’s scary.

  • Nic

    June 5th, 2016 at 2:18 AM

    I have been biting my cheeks for years, but have recently noticed that the compulsion is particularly strong just after I have eaten. It is like I feel I haven’t eaten enough, even though my stomach is full. It is also bad when I am craving sweet food – often in the evening. Does anyone else experience this?

  • Rose

    June 16th, 2016 at 5:27 PM

    I would recommend chewing gum. I also bite my cheeks and I feel so awkward, but chewing gum keeps you from biting. Another thing is to wear a retainer or mouth guard.

  • Dennis

    June 17th, 2016 at 12:11 PM

    Been doing this since teens and for about 30 years. I suspect it’s largely, for most people, genetic, like a bird feels a need to build a house and does it without being taught. I didn’t grow up with my father, but he did this. My brother did grow up with him, and he doesn’t do this. My kid does this. Can’t stop doing it. Some may, but their reason for starting may be OCD and not genetics. I’m not an OCD person. My experience is that I do it when I’m still. Watching TV, Reading, Driving. I don’t do it when playing an instrument, working, talking, eating, gardening, sports. So as one person said here, keeping busy helps. Gum can help, but it actually makes you want to chew more and can hurt your jaw (or teeth if you have crowns) so it’s a temporary measure. As humans, we suck at stopping in-born routines. But we excel at changing our environment. When I’ve stopped doing this out of sheer will power, I end up putting stress on myself elsewhere. Tight shoulders, tight neck, etc. I’ve stopped for months at a time, and started. I suspect stress CAN make you do it more often, or trigger doing it again. But Stress/Anxiety is NOT the root cause for most ppl I don’t think. We ALL have stress and anxiety to some degree. In the past, people smoked to deal with it and with a cigarette in your mouth, you don’t chew. What we can do is change the environment to stop chewing and some here have done that with mouth guards. My favorite read here was the person who created their own smaller mold to cap a few teeth than a large mouth guard. But I keep a mouth guard on me and use it in the car, watching TV (unless eating) or reading. That works, but just 1/2 hour without it watching TV can undo days of not biting. You need ‘protection’ on you at all times and pop it in the second you start trigger activities or as soon as you notice. This is most likely something you live with. I have a few facial lines from the frown. Mostly I have very damaged front teeth, worn down and razor sharp so I can chew faster and more detrimentally than before. I used to chew Rock Candy with my front teeth so chewing that and other things also contributed. So, in short, you aren’t mental. It’s a part of your DNA. And you can’t just “stop” mentally w/o causing MORE stress that goes elsewhere to your body. So just find a way to PREVENT you physically from doing it. Maybe some will be able to stop, most of us will not. It’s like Alcoholism for us. We were born with this predilection and need a physical barrier to assuage it. It causes facial lines, it causes worn teeth, it causes bad breath while your inner “scabs” hear with bacteria. I’ve used Peroxide mouth washed to aid in healing and aid in reducing odor. No doubt, ppl have unfriended me over this without my knowledge. So my remedy is mouth guard and I will try a smaller home-made one with moldable plastic off Amazon called “InstaMorph – Moldable Plastic” and hope the plastic doesn’t cause cancer, haha. Best of luck. You’re not damaged. Just in the past, ppl were too busy to have habits. No doubt the energy put into this was instead put into farming, or hunting, or escaping, but we have more sedentary lives and new challenges to our genetics.

  • Alicia

    June 29th, 2016 at 6:36 AM

    I agree, genetics. My dad’s mom and sisters do it and my mom and daughter do it and of course myself.

  • Phyll

    June 18th, 2016 at 4:30 PM

    I don’t know why I do this. It started about two and a half years ago, right after I decided to stop biting my finger and toe nails (I know. Gross right?)and now I just can’t stop. My mom has been telling me constantly to stop twisting my mouth especially in public(not to mention she does it to), and I keep trying to stop but no matter how hard I try I always end up doing it again after suceeding to stop for some time. Argh!! So FRUSTRATING. I’M EVEN DOING IT RIGHT NOW. CURSE YOU MOUTH CHEWING CURSE YOU!! Why me? I wish it would just end. *sobbing*Anyway its nice to know there are actually a lot of people with this problem and I’m not alone. Sorry, instead of commenting, I’m just venting my frustations

  • Pat

    June 29th, 2016 at 6:06 PM

    I just started doing this a couple of months ago, after starting a new medication. The doctor doesn’t think it’s a drug-induced compulsion, he thinks I have a little more energy now and it’s being expended this way. I was 64 with good skin, and in two months have developed deep lip wrinkles and a narrowed mouth, both possibly permanent. Chewing gum helps, brushing my teeth and using mouthwash helps, keeping the tip of my tongue pushed against my lips helps, but sooner or later I start up again. I’ve ordered a mouth guard–this has got to stop. My sister says it always looks like I’m having a stroke.

  • Pat

    June 29th, 2016 at 8:24 PM

    Oh, and, some websites talk about “emotion wants motion”–nervous habits being a stand-in for vigorous exercise (not what you’re thinking, although why not?)–they use gardening as an example. Getting absorbed in something that even just our hands stay busy with apparently distracts the impulse. Also, identifying the time of day/situation we most often finding ourselves chewing ourselves lets us plan for a regular diversion activity. Deep relaxation techniques are suggested, but if we were people who could relax so totally we probably wouldn’t be doing this.

  • Pat

    July 26th, 2016 at 9:29 PM

    Thanks, Shelley. I did stop for a week or so but have been gnawing again so am trying either to be chewing gum or icing my mouth (mine’s hot too–but then all that chewing might well be inflaming it–and my throat is always dry), or chomping on my new bite guard. Weeding the yard seems to help, too.

  • Autumn

    July 7th, 2016 at 4:22 PM

    I chew my cheek every day. It can sometimes bleed and become painful but I think it’s happened so much now that it’s a lot less likely to hurt. It probably doesn’t help that I have braces which are constantly touching my cheeks. I’m really sick of it. I’m self conscious about it. I’m struggling to avoid chewing at this very moment. I haven’t done anything stressful and I’ve eaten fairly healthy today. However, I haven’t exercised at all and I have been sitting around staring at my computer screen all day. It just feels like I can never escape! I always seem to be chewing something. When I was younger it was my nails, then my fingers, then my lips, now my cheeks! It just seems like it’s a lot harder getting out of the habit of biting my cheeks…

  • Michael

    July 27th, 2016 at 12:11 PM

    is it the same for the inside of the lips? like i have a line that goes across the inside of my lower lip from where I’ve chewed it for years, and that line only makes me want to gnaw on it more to get rid of it. I chew it without even knowing until i start tasting blood. I do the same with the inside of my cheeks, and now there are lines on there too. I don’t really have a trigger for it i don’t think; it just happens. A nervous habit i have is chewing my lips, but i never do any of the other things when nervious or anxious

  • Pat

    July 27th, 2016 at 2:31 PM

    Yup. It’s the same. I’m doing both, especially when I’m putting off dealing with what I know I should take care of, staying still when there are things to be done, or not saying what I’m thinking. Also when I *am* doing something way too complicated or detailed and wish I weren’t. My lips are all nibbled right now.

  • E

    August 22nd, 2016 at 4:43 AM

    Been doing this since I was a kid and am going to stop now. People do not realize that this is a major cause of the smile line wrinkles. Just look at that photo of the lady at the top of this page. Repetition of certain facial movements cause permanent wrinkles. So cheek biting wears down tooth enamel and also causes wrinkles. Good reasons to stop.

  • Eka

    August 23rd, 2016 at 8:11 AM

    I have been biting my lip since childhood. I am 24 years old now. I first noticed my dad do it and I guess I picked it p from him. This habit has been very annoying because as much as I want to stop doing it I CAN’T!. The funny thing is I don’t even realize when I do it, and all of a sudden I find myself racking up pieces of chewed up skin on my hands and putting them back in my mouth and then spitting it out again. I have to stop because I’m beginning to get wrinkles around my mouth.

  • Kaya

    August 23rd, 2016 at 2:09 PM

    I started biting my cheeks when I was about 8 years old, because I saw my mother doing it. Now I do it when I grow bored or nervous. I am trying to stop, because the constant twisting of my mouth to reach the furthest edges of my cheeks is causing tiny wrinkles on my left cheek and the left side of my lips. I have found that chewing gum helps. Whenever I start chewing my cheeks I grab some gum, and when I feel myself growing restless and wanting to chew – Gum! It’s a stop-gap at best but I honestly dont know what else to do..

  • Paul

    September 5th, 2016 at 3:11 PM

    Have posted before, had bitten, badly, inside of mouth and tongue for 45 years, finally stopped for good (I hope) 14 months ago. I dream now that I’m doing it, wake up – NOOOOO ! As mentioned, I got an NTI mouthguard (very small) , started wearing it when I started doing it, and that, and some real hard work, finally did the trick. Good luck. Paul

  • Tra

    October 16th, 2016 at 12:57 AM

    Its a bad habit and its very difficult to get rid of. And to be honest its very unattractive – your face contorts into
    an ugly form. The best way to stop this is to stop feeling around the inner cheek and lips to check if its smooth or still rough and lumpy. Within about two days, the skin is replaced. Continuously checking the inner cheek with your tongue causes you to come across lumps as a result of the trauma it went through. Its best to ignore it or if you are very persistent, to bite it off and be done with (this usually leads to the beginning of a new cycle of cheek-biting).

  • Tshimangadzo N

    October 24th, 2016 at 10:10 PM

    I have been unconsciously biting my lower lip for a week now daily. My wife even thought it was stroke bcos one side of the mouth was swollen

  • Gordon

    December 6th, 2016 at 9:14 PM

    Im in the top 1% of biters. I bite the entire avaliabe skin area in my mouth til ive removed the top layer of skin: daily!! There is no way my skin grows back as fast as i remove it, which means if so im biting a whole new layer each day. I measure my cheek thickness using my fingers when ever i catch myself.. im 26 i guess by 29 ill have holes through my face where i bit into the other side.

  • Pat

    December 10th, 2016 at 1:20 AM

    If gum, icy drinks, mouth guard (or occlusal splint) and keeping physically busy aren’t helpful, there has apparently been some success treating it as a form of OCD or anxiety disorder with Fluvoxamine (brand names: Faverin, Fevarin, Floxyfral, Dumyrox and Luvox), though suicidal ideation is a possible side effect, so you’d have to weigh the risks. You’d probably need a mouth guard or splint in addition. You sound desperate, like you need to see someone soon, whether dental specialist or therapist.

  • Mimi

    December 18th, 2016 at 7:42 PM

    To all those above. I have found a permanent solution to my 40 year anxious finger biting habit. I was like you, unable to stop, desperately trying to think of ways to manage the habit. For 6 months I haven’t even thought about it. EFT Emotional Freedom Techniques or tapping enabled me to stop. There was an immediate reduction and then after persisting after a few weeks it was completely gone. It really works! Free self help at eftuniverse.com

  • Cara

    February 16th, 2017 at 2:11 PM

    Ive done cheek biting for 10+ years since i was very little. Mine is due to stress and simply just habit out of boredom now. I quit smoking in only one day simply by making the decision to myself “Ok, im going to stop smoking because i want to be there to enjoy life with my kids.” If i was able to quite smoking in 1 day im very sure the lot of you can stop any habits you may have. For me cheek biting is still a habit so i found this page to see if this form of habit has any possible concerning health consequences. Just doing a life check of myself starting with my bad habits. Its good to do and its made my life a lot happier as well especially since i stopped smoking.

  • Wilford S.

    March 18th, 2017 at 6:49 AM

    This is very attention-grabbing, You are an excessively skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to in quest of more of your fantastic post. Additionally, I have shared your website in my social networks|

  • Nicole W

    April 10th, 2017 at 9:12 PM

    I myself bite my cheeks, but also my tongue. Is there any way to stop? It has gotten to the point where my tongue has bled and is sore.

  • Edward

    April 14th, 2017 at 10:10 AM

    I had that problem since I was four years old im 26 now still have the problem I tried my best to stop doing it but no luck is somehow like a drug its very hard to stop doing it believe me

  • Promise

    April 17th, 2017 at 2:45 PM

    I knew that it was a bad habit but I never thought of what could be the cause until I decided to browse the internet. I do bits my cheeks not often and even when I decided not to do it, it lasts for 2 or 3 weeks and find myself in the habit again. thanks for the info.

  • Savannah

    April 20th, 2017 at 7:28 PM

    This was certainly helpful. I have a pretty odd habit of constantly biting and chewing on the inside of my lip, to the point of blood which I honestly seem to have gotten a slight addiction of. I also tend to bite my hand, also causing broken tissue, and now that I know what may be causing it, I can try to live less stressfully. Though, I don’t think the inside of my lip is going to be safe for a while. I’m biting it right now, aren’t I a hypocrite.

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