Is biting the inside of your lip a normal condition? Many people do bite or chew on the insides of the lower lip perhaps out of boredom or nervousness. This habit is often or initially prompted by a misdirection of the teeth which in turn causes the person to mistakenly bite into the lower lip while chewing.
- Biting on the inside of the lips is painful. It causes pain and even swelling of the bitten area
- The swollen area is likely to be bitten again a chewing continues.
- Lip biting is common in both male and female, young and old
Sometimes lip biting brings out individual characters such as being short tempered, highly stressed and also some kind of arrogance.
- Causes or reasons
- Signs and symptoms?
- Harmful effects
- How can one stop this problem?
Causes or reasons
It is important to note that biting on the inside lip is a disorder. The following are some of the common causes of biting of the inside of both upper and lower lips.
1. Poor dental arrangement
Individuals whose teeth are not well arranged are more likely to bite the inside of their lips. This happens more often especially when talking or while chewing food.
2. Poor chewing habits
How often do you bite inside of your lower lips while eating? Chewing can either be slow or fast or fairly slow or fast. People who chew food slowly are less likely to bite the inside of their lips compared to those who are faster in chewing. This is because individuals who chew at a slower pace are said to be more careful than those who chew fast.
3. Sucking on the inward lip
Those individuals with burning mouth syndrome are likely to experience biting the inside of their lips while trying to relieve themselves from the pain
A burning mouth syndrome is basically a burning sensation in the mouth which may have no medical cause.
Similarly, breastfeeding toddlers may also bite the inside of their lips. This occurs when they suck the nipple of their feeding bottle with a lot of force.
4. Malfunctioning of the nervous system
Another cause of biting of the inside lip is poor functioning of the nervous system. We all know that chewing is entirely controlled by our nervous system. Malfunctioning of the system leads to lack of coordination between the teeth and the tongue.it also lowers the concentration or the focus on chewing by an individual. Lack of concentration leads to biting of the inside lip which is painful.
5. Stress and Anxiety
Anxiety is a disorder of nervousness. This condition is usually marked by biting the inside of the lips According to Dr. Abhishek Bhadranna, this condition is more common among people who have completely loss of self-control and they have unusual increase in stress pattern
6. Eating while talking (table mannerisms)
Another reason why people bite the inside of their lip is eating food while talking. This form of eating manners may lead to careless chewing and you may experience biting inside your lip
Other forms of distraction that may lead to biting of the inside lip are;
- Reading loudly while eating
- Laughing while chewing
- Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior/Disorder
Signs and symptoms?
Biting the inside of the lip is a disorder which shows the following symptoms on an individual
- Lip soreness that causes pain and swelling of the lips
- One experiences lip peeling due to the dryness of lips
- Lips may get inflamed with bleeding.
- Damaging of the lips especially when the biting becomes chronic
Why is biting inside of lips really unfortunate or bad?
- It causes swollen lips that are red and may lead to lip chapping. This can make it difficult while swallowing or eating food
- If the bitten lip is affected, individuals may experience pain and tenderness. This makes it difficult to chew some foods.
- Delicate tissues on the lip start drying, thin outer layer on the lips causes peeling of the tissues even extending beyond the border of lips.
- Lip soreness that causes pain and swelling of the lips. Constant biting of lips is likely to result in mouth ulcer. Mouth ulcers heal with time. However continued biting of the inside lip may lead to mouth cancer. This mostly happens on the tongue or under the tongue. People who smoke and even those who are alcoholic are likely to develop mouth ulcers.
How can one stop this problem?
These may involve both learning to change of one’s lifestyle and medication where necessary. To stop biting the inside of the lips depends on how or what and why people find themselves biting.
1. Use of relaxation methods
Relaxation can be done through deep breathing, yoga practices and techniques. These techniques helps to calm nervousness, fatigue or stress and thus helps in proper gnawing.
Use of mouth guard
Mouth guard is a dental device used to protect the user from biting the inside of their lips. Some people who have chronic lip biting on the inside prefer wearing mouth guard all the times.
It is advisable to obtain mouth guard from recommended and qualified dentists. These device can be bought at pocket friendly prices.
Nibbling refers to the gentle chewing of food. People with poor dental arrangement or teeth misalignment are encouraged to go for nibbling training or try it at home. This will by greater chances, reduce the risk of biting the inside of their lips. Plastic surgery can also be used to address misaligned teeth.
3. Practice healthy chewing habits
Individuals with this condition are advised to observe proper chewing habits like;
- Not talking while eating
- Not laughing while eating
- Eating gradually and gently to prevent biting their lips by coincidence.
4. Avoiding stress and anxiety
If you find that you’re biting your lips as a result of stress, take the time to think about what exactly it is that is stressing you out. One of the best ways of preventing lip biting on the inside is by avoiding stress and anxiety.
This can also be achieved through visiting professional counsellors. Involve yourself in activities that help to relieve stress like; physical exercises. Many people find that meditation or prayer calms them and can help alleviate nervous habits like biting the inside of their lips.
5. Consulting the dentist
The dentist may recommend the use of soft splints placed on the teeth when one is about to go to sleep. This is also a preventive measure to avoid further damage on the lips that may come as a result of biting of the inside lip.
Use methods that can distract one from biting his or her lips. This can be done by chewing gum. This cannot be a long term intervention but can somehow help and assist the affected especially when one is experiencing some feelings of anxiety
Our Sources of Reference and Citations
- Anxiety disorder-symptoms, cause, treatment: http://healthosphere.com/lip-biting-symptoms-causes-treatment/
- Why do people bite lips when they’re anxious? calmclinic.com/anxiety/symptoms/lip-biting
- 8 Things You May Not Know About Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs): http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-body-focused-repetitive-behaviors-bfrbs
- Better Health Channel