I keep biting the inside of my right cheek when I chew. It happens if I eat something that requires much chewing, like chicken or an apple. It doesn’t happen with softer foods, though. Is this a dental issue that requires braces, which I cannot afford, or could it be a medical issue? I can’t imagine why it would be medical, but I don’t know. The problem began over a year ago, but it’s become more frequent. Thanks. Viviana from Tampa, FL
A cheek-biting habit may be related to dental concerns. A dentist can determine whether your teeth alignment is causing you to bite your inner cheek when you chew.
What Causes Inner Cheek Biting?
Factors that can cause inner cheek biting include anxiety, depression, distractions, compulsive behavior, or bite misalignment. Although occasional accidental cheek biting is not a concern, you should get professional help to identify the cause of a chronic habit.
- Anxiety or depression – Cheek biting can become an emotional reaction to stress, anxiety, or depression.
- Compulsive behavior – Body-focused repetitive behavior is related to conscious or subconscious habits, such as cheek biting, hair pulling, or skin picking.
- Distractions – Reading, driving, watching TV, or talking while eating can distract you from chewing well, causing you to bite your inner cheek.
- Teeth misalignment – Teeth misalignment from orthodontic concerns or restorative dental work can affect your bite or how your upper and lower teeth meet. Cheek biting can be a sign of a non-harmonious bite.
What Can a Dentist Do for a Cheek-Biting Habit?
A dentist can examine your teeth and bite to determine whether they affect your check-biting habit or if you need to consult your medical doctor. If so, the dentist may recommend a mouth guard, orthodontics, or tooth restoration to correct your bite. If your bite is off, you may also experience TMJ-related symptoms, including jaw pain or stiffness, earaches, headaches, or neck pain. Schedule an exam with a dentist with advanced occlusion and bite training for an accurate diagnosis.
Dr. Duane Delaune of Metairie, Louisiana, sponsors this post. Read why Dr. Delaune’s patients consider him one of the best dentists in town.