Why Do I Accidentally Bite My Lip, Cheek, and Tongue While Eating? By Burton Gooch on November 01, 2023

Woman with a sore cheekEveryone has experienced an accidental bite of their cheek or tongue when eating. The experience is not only annoying, but can also be quite painful. Unfortunately, some people routinely bite down on the lips or other parts of the mouth when chewing, leaving them to question, “Why do I accidentally bite my lip, cheek, and tongue while eating?”

The dentists at Gooch Family Dental in Birmingham, AL, work with patients to determine the cause of accidental lip, cheek, and tongue biting. With diagnosis, our dentists can create an effective treatment plan, which often includes orthodontics to correct malocclusion problems. Treatment stops the pain and oral sores that biting causes to restore healthy oral tissues.

Causes of Lip, Cheek, and Tongue Biting

Sometimes, people bite their lips out of habit. People who are unable to control the habit of lip biting may be diagnosed with a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB). BFRB is classified as being related to obsessive-compulsive disorder.

While BFRB is the cause of lip biting for many individuals, those who accidentally bite their lips or routinely bite on the tongue or inner cheek while eating are more likely to have a dental problem. Two dental problems that can cause lip, cheek, and tongue biting are malocclusion problems and TMJ disorder.

Malocclusion Problems

Malocclusion problems are orthodontic issues. Orthodontic issues refer to a misalignment of the teeth or jaw. When the teeth or jaw sit out of their proper position, it throws off the bite. Malocclusion problems can interfere with oral functions, compromise the strength of the bite, and make it difficult to clean the teeth properly.

Additionally, malocclusion problems can cause biting of the mouth’s soft tissues. Since the bite is not balanced correctly, it is easy to accidentally bite to the front or side, making it more likely that the lips, cheek, or tongue will be bitten when trying to bite or chew food.

TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder is another dental problem that commonly causes accidental biting of the lips, cheeks, and tongue. TMJ disorder refers to inflammation in the tissues surrounding the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects the jaw to the lower skull. TMJ disorder is often associated with malocclusion problems. Bad dental habits, such as bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching), can also increase the risk of TMJ disorder.

TMJ disorder compromises the bite. The bite can be thrown off-balance, as with malocclusion problems. TMJ disorder can also limit how wide the jaw opens and cause lockjaw. TMJ disorder symptoms interfere with eating and chewing and increase the risk of biting the lips, cheeks, and tongue.

Treating Lip, Cheek, and Tongue Biting

When lip, cheek, and tongue biting are the result of malocclusion problems or TMJ disorder, dental treatment can help. Our Birmingham dental team offers orthodontic treatment to correct the bite and improve oral functions. Orthodontic treatment options include SureSmile® and Invisalign®, two discreet and convenient alternatives to braces. We can also treat TMJ disorder through orthodontic care or the use of custom dental mouth guards. We are happy to personalize a treatment plan for each of our patients.

Contact Us

If you find yourself frequently biting down on the lips, cheeks, or tongue, the dental treatments offered at Gooch Family Dental may help you prevent this painful habit. To discuss your concerns with our dental team, send us a message at your earliest convenience and request an appointment at our Birmingham practice.

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Gooch Family Dental

Gooch Family Dental

Gooch Family Dental is dedicated to providing convenient, comprehensive dentistry to the community in Birmingham, AL. We take advantage of the latest dental technology to streamline treatment, and deliver fast, beautiful results. Our proud affiliations include:

  • The American Dental Association
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • Birmingham District Dental Society
  • The Alabama Dental Association

You can learn more about our services, and schedule an appointment today by filling out our online form, or by calling (205) 991-9892.

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