Home > Cheek > Inside cheek > Cheek Biting Causes, Morsicatio Buccarum, How to Stop While it Eating, Sleeping or Anxious

Cheek Biting Causes, Morsicatio Buccarum, How to Stop While it Eating, Sleeping or Anxious

What is cheek biting? Why do people bite the inside of their cheeks or what are some of the causes of cheek biting?? What does it mean when you bite your cheeks? Get more insight on biting inside of cheek (lip chewing) including causes (such as anxiety, misaligned wisdom teeth, compulsive disorder, in sleep, while eating), symptoms, effects, and how to stop how to stop biting your cheek.

Why do I keep biting the inside of my cheek or why do I bite the inside of my cheek? I have read and heard people complain about this problem of cheek biting or chewing. I too have the problem where I keep biting my cheek while eating, nervous and at times when I am sleeping at night. It has not been bothering me until recently when I felt enough is enough.

Cheek Biting Cause, Chronic, in Sleep, Cancer, Habit, OCD, Stop Treatment Morsicatio Buccarum
Cheek Biting photo

Since I don’t like the feeling of a swollen inner cheek from biting, I did some extensive research on various aspects on teeth biting including causes and remedies or treatments to deal with this bad habit I have and I want to share what I found out with you.

It is biting the inside of your cheek or cheek linea alba

Before rushing to conclusion you bite your inner cheek, you need to know that it is normal to have a linea alba which is “a horizontal streak on the inner surface of the cheek, level with the biting plane. It usually extends from the commissure to the posterior teeth and can extend to the inner lip mucosa and corners of the mouth” [Wikipedia.org].

Linea alba is associated with sucking force from teeth’s facial surface, pressure, frictional irritation, tobacco chewing, etc. and it should not be mistaken by lesion from teeth biting since it does not require any treatment.

Cheek biting symptoms and effects

Some of the common symptoms you expect if you often bite your cheeks include white sore spots or cheek biting sores and  oral lesions (frictional ketosis including canker sores), tenderness, bleeding, scarring, swelling, irregular inner cheek surface, redness, burning sensation on inside of your cheeks, especially where the upper and lower teeth meet.

Is cheek chewing dangerous or not or is it bad to bite your cheek? What are some of the effects of biting the inside of your cheek? Biting inside of cheek is not a life threatening problem but it does have some undesirable effects that include cheek bite infections, swelling, black spots (due to trauma), painful canker sores, black spots, and formation of callus if you keep on biting the same spot among many others.

Cheek biting causes, why do I bite my inner cheeks?

If you suffer from mouth biting, specifically inside of cheek biting, there are many possible causes which include the following:

1. Biting cheek while eating due to careless chewing

Chewing while trying to do something else such as reading (especially reading a newspaper while eating), talking or simply doing something else can make one to bite her or his cheeks. If you have the problem of biting inside of cheek when eating, slow down your eating and be focused. This is one of the causes of accidental cheek biting.

2. Wisdom teeth biting cheek due to teeth misalignment

To some people, biting cheek is not what they would wish to suffer from but it happens due to misalignment of teeth, especially the molars and premolars that do not close properly (teeth misalignment can also be due to missing tooth), due to temporomandibular joint disorder or ill-fitting dentures.

Having misaligned teeth can make someone to develop a psychological problem. This happens when our brains realized and tries to correct it by putting something between your teeth which in most instances ends up being your cheek or lip. This could result in constantly biting cheek or lip biting.

If you have misaligned teeth, go for checkup and correction since it can cause other problems other than biting cheek, lips, gum or mouth in general.

3. Cheek biting habit, anxiety and nervous habits

Nervous or anxiety cheek biting is much like biting nails and its root cause might have nothing to do with misaligned dentures or teeth. It happens unconscious when someone is anxious or nervous.  There are medication that can lead to this anxiety disorder.

Training is required to get rid of such a habit. If you have biting inside of cheek habit, try chewing sugarless gums or anything that will make you realized you are biting them i.e. replacer habit.

4. Accidental cheek biting

Sometimes, your teeth biting might have nothing to do with misaligned teeth or nervous habits but caused by accidents. It is normal to bite your cheeks as you eat especially if you eat quickly, while you are talking, if you are hit on your cheeks, during dental work or tooth extraction, by your dental appliances or piercing.

Ensure the ulcer that results is quickly treated since raises the chances of biting the same spot again especially while it is swollen.

Compulsive cheek biting disorder OCD

If you suffer from compulsive cheek biting, which is a kind of “obsessive compulsive cheek biting disorder where a person compulsively bite their own cheeks” [rightdiagnosis.com]. In such a case, the patient can feel the pain of biting their cheeks but the stress relief and gratification feeling makes them unable to stop the habit.

Some of the great ways of dealing with compulsive cheek biting include hypnosis, mediation, cognitive behavioral therapy and use of medications.

Biting cheek in sleep at night

Just a teeth grinding, some people have the problem of biting cheek in sleep. This is something that they do unconsciously and they only realize when they wake up in the morning. You will wake up with cheek soreness (hurting pain) and swollen inner cheeks. Sometimes biting cheek in sleep can cause jaw soreness.

The cause cheek biting in sleep has been associated with previous day’s stress. It is advisable to sleep with mouth guards if you do not need to bite your cheeks, tongue, lips, gums or mouth while you are asleep.

Cheek biting cancer, can it cause mouth, cheek or oral cancer?

The discuss on whether biting of cheeks can lead to oral cancer is widespread with some sources refuting the fact while others seem to be supporting the idea while saying it happens in extremely rare cases. For instance according to DR Chaudhary “repeated trauma of bites at the same place can cause infection that leads to cancer” [indiatimes.com].

On the other side, some doctors say biting of mouth, lip or cheek cannot cause cancer i.e. “No worries. You may develop some scar tissue, but not cancer. Factors that can contribute to oral cancer include heavy alcohol use, tobacco in all forms including chewing tobacco, and HPV infection” Dr. Forrest Jones, [healthtap.com].

Not to go any further on mouth cancer and mouth biting, according to Dr. Connelly, “Any chronic mouth lesion could develop cancer over the long term, but the research and final word are spotty” [beautylish.com].

Morsicatio buccarum or chronic cheek biting 110 or chewing

Chronic cheek biting, otherwise known as morsicatio buccarum refers to repetitive biting, nibbling or chewing of the inside lining of your cheeks that often cause chronic injury and irritation of the buccal mucosa (lining on your inner cheeks). It might exist with linea alba and it will have white lesions (damaged buccal mucosa lining) “with thickening and shredding of mucosa commonly combined with intervening zones of erythema (redness) or ulceration” [Wikipedia.org].

It is caused by cheek chewing habit, poor prosthetic teeth construction, and chronic suction of buccal mucosa among other causes.

Morsicatio buccarum can be treated with dental guards i.e. “acrylic prosthesis that covers the biting surfaces of the teeth and protects the cheek, tongue and labial mucosa” [Wikipedia.org] which should be used for long or short term especially during night sleep to avoid constantly biting cheek.

How to stop biting your cheek, treatments and cures

No one wants to bite their cheeks whether it is when they are eating, sleeping, habitual, caused by oral cancer, accidental, is caused by a disorder, etc. The best way to deal with this problem is knowing what causes it and dealing with the underlying cause. While looking at causes, we already mentioned some treatments or remedies that are related to that cause.

Now, let us look at the general ways to stop biting your cheeks as well as cheek biting treatment and cures that will heal the problem and lesions or wounds that might result.

1. Relaxation therapy and stress management

One of the great cheek biting cure is trying relaxation. It will be effective whether you bite your cheeks out of boredom, anxiety, stress or it a habit as it try to helps attain more calmness while reducing anger, pain, anxiety or stress.  There are many techniques that include deep breathing, Qigong, meditation, Pranayama, Yoga Nidra, visualization, self-hypnosis, biofeedback among others.

2. Mouth guard for biting of inner cheek

These are dental appliances which are worn not to treat but prevent and control this problem. Most of them are removal shields while a few could be permanent.

3. Bite correction and jaw alignment

Surgical and non-surgical bite correction is often recommended to people whose biting of inner cheek is due to crooked teeth especially the molars and premolars. If your jaws are misaligned, they can also be aligned through various procedures that include plastic surgeries.

4. Awareness

You need to be aware of the fact that biting cheek is not healthy and need to be corrected. Once you have the awareness, compliment it with the right treatment depending on the cause.

5. Give distractions

People who have compulsive biting of inside of cheek disorder or those who do it habitually need to be given alternative distractions such as chewing gums or replacement therapies to help deal with this problem.

In addition to this, ensure you eat carefully and slowly if you want to stop accidental cheek biting especially when you are eating, carefully choose your dental appliances and piercings, avoid rubbing or sucking our cheeks against your teeth, and see a dentist for further advice on cheek biting treatment after correct diagnosis.

Treating cheek biting lesion and cheek bite infection

As mentioned earlier, cheek biting can result into sores or lesions that could be painful and encourage further injuries if they are swollen or they could be infected. Some of the ways to treat this lesions include:

  • The first way to How to heal cheek bites Is by swishing a mixture of one part of hydrogen peroxide in about four parts of water (or 3% diluted hydrogen peroxide) will help speed up wound healing. Saline or salty water will also work well.
  • Try using chlorhexidine mouthwash to reduce swelling as well as pain as well as tea tree oil mouthwashes.
  • Dabbing vanilla extract on the affected site
  • Rinse your mouth with a mixture of ½ teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a cup of water or cool chamomile tea.
  • Put aspirin on the infected area and if you have any aching pain, try taking ibuprofen.
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About Vladmir Kucherov


  1. Thank you in advance. I have this OCD kind of a thing since 2009. Just like you said now it is my enough is enough moment and this articles helps me a lot. Wish you the best

    • I bite the inside of my cheeks, since I was a young girl, I have never stopped, I found it so relaxing, then it got painful and swollen and so sore.

      My dentist told me to go on anti depressants for anxiety.

      I suffer Bruxism, grinding of the teeth at night.

      I pick my skin around my fingers, since I was a young girl, this is all anxiety related, and will see a counsellor for this.

      • I’m on meds. For anxiety but I still do it. I have anxiety and have all my life. But it helps me cope with stress.

  2. I have suffered from cheek biting and biting the inside of my lower lip since about 2012. It all started about a year after my husband ( we never divorced) had some affairs.
    I tried to deal with the stress of what happened.
    Now years later, I wish I would have never started this bad habit.
    I bite my cheeks/lip out of boredom, stress and even from thinking about it so much that I feel like I have to do it.
    I wake up in the morning worried that I will have a very large sore by the end of the day and I haven’t even started biting my mouth. I tell myself that I have to do it.
    I think about it all day.
    I have a job at a restaurant as a Hostess (seating people/cashing people out) and when I am there I don’t think about it as much because my mind is focused on that.
    If I am thinking about biting my cheeks/mouth, my job performance starts to suffer.
    I can’t focus on 2 things at the same time.
    I know I need to seek some kind of treatment. I have even thought about hypnosis, but that seems dangerous to me, because your mind is in an altered state.
    I need help.
    If anyone knows of some kind of pill or vitamin that is all natural to take to supress the anxiety and nervousness of biting my mouth, I would sure like to know what the name of it is and where I can get it.
    I have 2 children and I don’t like them seeing Mommy stressed out.
    I need help.

    • Sorry for the difficult situation you are going through. However, you do not a pill but a counselor and a cognitive behavioral therapist to help you defeat your problems.

    • yes it has some precautive measures. U can try eating green vegetables,fruits like lemon,orange and nonveg items.Basically u need foods which are rich in VitaminA,E,C.

  3. Re: cheek biting
    I accidentally bite my cheek when I eat. The lesion(?) has never gone away. It’s soft and I think it’s noticeable when I talk. How do I get rid of it? It’s been there for over a year

  4. Im 23 and I’ve been biting the inside of my cheeks and lips since I was a kid. I notice I do it when I’m frustrated, bored, or even without any thought. I end up with sores sometimes and when I can feel the roughness of my cheek from biting its way worse because I bite more to smooth it out. I’ve tried chewing gum constantly but I always end up with pushing the gum to one side and still biting without even realizing. How can I stop?? I feel too old to still be doing this and I’m always nervous I’ll cause an infection even tho its never happened… I’m all ears!

    • Since it seems out of your control, you can opt for a soft mouth guard with will make it impossible for you to bite them. See more on Habitual biting of oral mucosa: A conservative treatment approach provided by the National Institute of Health US GOV. Alternatively, seek for help from a professional behavioral modification therapist.

    • I have bitten the inside of my mouth on and off for over 30 years..definitely a habit and result of anxiety. I find that if I can let the skin grow back and become smooth again (takes about 48 hours) then I am “in the clear” and can stop for a good amount of time…sometimes even years. So how to keep away from it while the skin is growing back is the big question. Recently I have discovered orthodontic wax- sold for use with braces. I take a piece and flatten it out and put it along my gum line in front of my bottom teeth. It creates just enough of a barrier to hinder biting. Of course, you have to take it out when you eat and sometimes it moves when you talk. But it seems to be working so far! And a pack is only about $3 at the drugstore :-). Good luck!

  5. I’m missing my top back tooth from extraction on the left. On the right I have a glued in broken crown, so I prefer the left to chew. Also on left bottom is an implant and two crowns. Just over the last few weeks, I have started to bite my left cheek. I looked at it and my inside cheek seems to be hanging down over my teeth. Not really like that on right! Thinking sinus issues? Have had a ton of sinus issues this fall. Should I see anyone?

  6. I have been biting the inside of my mouth on and off for over 30 years. I find that if I can get through the approximate 48 hours it takes for the skin to grow back, heal and become smooth again, then it is much easier to resist the temptation of biting. Sometimes I have stopped for years. The question is how to avoid subconscious biting while the skin heals. I have recently discovered orthodontic wax at the drug store (sold for use with braces). I flatten a piece of it and place it along my gum line in front of my bottom teeth. It stays put pretty well, and creates just enough of a barrier to resist biting. Of course, you need to remove it when you eat and it tends to move a bit when you talk, but overall it works pretty well and also makes you more aware of it when you do try to bite.. and it is very inexpensive. Hope this helps!

  7. i have bad habit, i always bite my cheek, lips roughly. black spot in my inner mouth, bad smelling in my mouth, how cn i stop this,. I think cancer, please save me. tell me how can i stop this.

    • Dear, get help from a behavioral change therapist.

    • Brother add me in my WhatsApp number i have same habit too we will both find a together 0097334126192

      • Me to for years as a kid and now 37 years later never stopped once. It got to a point where it feels so good that I do both cheeks, lips and even using my finger outside on my so stretch to I could get a new spot. I know I’m horrible. Please help me to

  8. I have been biting myself for as long as I can remember. It has caused an outer and inner swollen cheeks(left and right) that kinda disfigures my beauty. I have never seeked for medical advice because I thought it was due to weight increase, but now enough is enough. Mine is not a bad habit it’s the misalignment of my teeth because it is very the same with the picture above even worse. Sometimes it gets so swollen like am growing a molar tooth. What should I do please. I don’t eat in public because of the embarrassment and I eat so slow to reduce the number of bites in a meal please help me ?

  9. Santhoshkumar LM

    I did not even know that there is such a common problem until I read this article. I have this habit of biting my inner lips/mouth. Even I have observed that I do it when I am bored/anxiety. But unfortunately I wont be knowing until it starts paining. Even my parents have punished me in my childhood for doing this.

    Now I m feeling not alone! there are many people who are facing this issue. However the point mentioned in this article about chewing gum to avoid this seems to be very helpful. But it is important to be very CAUTIOUS to realize when I am going to start biting.

  10. I just got a crown put on a back molar. Ever since I’ve been biting the inside of my cheek where the crown is. This was NOT happening before the crown. I get the permanent crown put in tomorrow. I hope the dentist can fix this problem. I’m not spending $1000 to live in this misery. I wish I never went to the dentist in the first place.

  11. Brittaney Muse

    I don’t know if this will help for anyone, but I have read about people biting the inside of their mouth and find it cumbersome. I have to admit, once I start I can’t stop, and even if it’s raw, I find a new place to bite, and I get into it, I want to keep biting until “it’s smooth.” Yet at the same time I don’t mind the pain, it’s like I need or want to bite so I bite what is accessible.I can’t explain it, but anxiety or hunger may initiate biting, I can’t stop, I want blood, and will take the pain, just to keep biting. So, is it habit or OCD or something else? How do I fix? I can’t do gum, I just push it aside so I can bite. I start biting without noticing, but when I do, I have to keep going. U will bite till raw and then switch to the other cheek, so I can keep biting. Is this OCD?

    • Brittaney Muse

      Sorry, I forgot to say that even when the area becomes to raw to bite, I take the area and bite between my teeth as,…… almost like biting your check on accident, but once I find a place in overall biting, I can’t stop.

    • I can relate to your post the most out of all of these.. I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember. I don’t know what to do to be “healed” of this, and I think sometimes I am “doing better” than other times. Sometimes I will go months and be like, wow I haven’t bitten my lip (or cheeks) in a while. And then as soon as I remind myself of that, I’ll start doing it. I’ll only stop until it is raw enough and I fall asleep because we know that it is always healed in the morning for the most part, but then we get started on it again. It’s like a daily thing. But if we let it heal up enough we might be good for a while.
      Oh yes… the struggle is real.

    • Same here man I’m 37 and been doing since I could remembers. Same story as you it’s like I can’t stop unless it’s all cleaned up, but once it heels or even half heel I start all over again.

  12. I bite my inside-cheek a lot, I’ve been doing it since about 4-6 years ago?
    I was actually doing it while reading this, I usually only bite one side at a time, though.

  13. Should I seek medical attention? I have what I believe to be a sore on the back of mouth by an impacted wisdom tooth. The pain extend to the gums and tonsil on that side of face feel tender to the touch and inflamated. Also below the sore there are vertical streak lines that may have been caused by cheek pressing onto my teeth while asleep.

    • Vladmir Kucherov

      Kindly see your dentist to fix the problem. Impacted teeth can cause wounds which may get infected.

  14. I don’t hav a habit of biting but I have a cuts scars inside my cheeks and swelling at gums which very painful am not able to eat lite spicy food also this am suffering from 2014 i concerned dentist used some medicine but it was not cured.what precautions should be taken to get rid of this problem

  15. My cheek biting is the consequence of sleeping on that side, eg sleeping on my left side, then chewed left cheek. Made worse if the nostril on the other side is bunged up. Using an over the counter spray to open that nostril helps.
    The other thing is having lost a lot of weight, so my cheeks are flabby.
    Getting is part of that.

  16. Breanne Desousa

    Since November or 2013, I have chewed through almost 3 different mouth guards because I don’t know what is happening while I’m sleeping. I grind my teeth, I know that for sure because I wake up with a sore mouth and chew lines down both the insides of my cheeks. Also, my front lip I also chew on the side of that as well while I am asleep. I have not dreamed in a very long time and the last time that I did dream I had the most surreal nightmare that ended a 3 year relationship. I have been taking anti depressants, anxiety medications, and I keep going through mouth guards. I have never had a cavity, braces etc. However, I do have the SEVERE case of the MTHFR Gene Mutation meaning I am deficient in Vitamin B6 and B12. As well as Folic Acid, for instance all the cells in my body are on strike and they won’t intake folic acid by consuming food. So, I have to take Medical Food on top of all of that. This grinding my teeth has made a terrible sleeping habit for me. Any suggestions?

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