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Cheek biting

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The habit that I am going to address this week is that of cheek biting. Cheek biting, according to medical terminology, is “Morsicatio buccarum”. The condition is characterized by an injury to the soft tissues, especially cheeks, as a result of repetitive biting.

Owing to high anxiety levels, improper dentition and odd chewing habits, cheek biting has become a common problem, not only in children, but also in adults.{{more}}

Adults of age group 20 to 30 years are most commonly afflicted by this problem. The most common reason for cheek bite is when a fold of a cheek comes between the upper and lower jaw teeth. This makes the soft tissues of cheek prone to continuous laceration. The recommended treatment for cheek biting is anti-ulcer ointment (to heal the ulcer formation due to cheek biting) and placing braces for at least 18 months to correct the cheek biting due to misaligned teeth. Cheek biting, if not treated at the right time, can lead to oral cancer.

CAUSES

Stress is the major causative factor for cheek biting. It starts with a subconscious activity, but after an initial bite, the area becomes prone to repeated bites.

People having disorders of nervous system or having high levels of anxiety are prone to bruxism i.e. teeth grinding during the night (as I have already addressed in an earlier article). Due to this habit of bruxism, the soft areas, especially cheek, become more prone to cheek biting.

Many times, due to the outward erupting direction of wisdom teeth, people develop the habit of cheek biting. The only treatment is extraction of wisdom teeth.

Having irregular teeth in the mouth can also lead to cheek biting. When the teeth have excess gaps or are overcrowded, then it leads to the flap of cheek coming between the teeth while masticating (chewing). This act causes cheek biting. The treatment recommended is visiting a dentist and getting the sharp cusps blunt and after that starting off with dental treatment.

TREATMENT

Treatment of cheek bite depends upon the factors causing cheek biting. So, depending upon the cause, here are the best treatments:

– Wearing a night guard when cheek biting is due to bruxism or night grinding. As the name suggests, it is to be worn at nights.It is made of silicone and comes separate for upper and lower jaws.

– reshaping of teeth with sharp cusps.

– Orthodontic treatment; if misaligned teeth or spacing are the cause, then getting braces is the treatment of choice.

– tooth extraction: if caused by out of arch erupting tooth.

COPING WITH CHEEK BITING

Chewing sugar free gums: this is quite a useful remedy in dealing with the compulsive nature of cheek biting. Under this disorder, regardless of the pain, patients continue to bite his/her cheeks owing to the stress and anxiety. So, chewing upon a sugar free chewing gum is a good option to cope with this habit.

If stress and anxiety are factors behind cheek biting, then you should start with meditation. Also try to understand the factors that are causing stress and when found try to eradicate them.

Dr Keith John

email:drkeithjohn@gmail.com

Clinic: SVG Dental Corporation

Telephone: 784-456-2220

Cell: 784-526-0752

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