Biting Cheeks & Lips

Archived Q&A and Reviews


I keep biting a calloused piece of skin in my cheek

June 2013

Hi BPN folks...this may be hard to explain. I have a calloused piece of skin in the back of my's kind of where the top and bottom come together where my TM joint is (but inside my mouth). This has been happening for may have started when I had teeth pulled and a bridge put in...don't really remember. It used to come and go but lately it seems to always be in my way and I bite it while I'm speaking which makes me have to change the way I speak. The DDS's I've asked have no ideas. One DDS filed a tooth which actually helped for a little while. It's starting to be a problem since it affecting my speech.

Has anyone had anything like this? It's not a sore, it's more like a callous on my cheek skin. I'm not asking for medical advice. I'm asking for your experience, or that of someone you know. Thanks. anon

Hi I use a blue plastic mouthguard that I buy in a two pack at target. For about $20. My dentist told me this bite was from grinding my teeth. It takes a little getting used to but now I can't sleep without it. Other biter

I have scars along my mouth from grinding my teeth at night. It's very possible you do the same thing. I had a mouth piece made by a maxillofacial surgeon in college because it was so bad. They sell cheapie versions to use at night at major drug stores too though. You could try that first. TMJ lady

Summer before my senior year of high school, when I was working myself up about college applications, I had this, though it was the skin under my lip and in my cheek. My brothers called them ''mouth bunions.'' Are you going through a stressful time? I went to the dentist about it. He sent me to a periodontist who lanced and stitched them each time because it could be a sign of cancer of the mouth (it was not, and mouth cancer is relatively rare) I spent several months going in every couple of weeks, and then I stopped doing it. That was in 1993. As long as your dentist signs off on it, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Hope this puts your mind at ease. Former Mouth Biter

This might sound crazy, but try 1000 mg of lysine. Whenever my mom gets a cankersore, she uses it, and now I do to. It seems to work though my old dentist told me there is no reason why it should. Can't hurt, might help. LK

Hi There, I too have biting scars on the inside of my mouth. Both sides running from front to back. The biting is subconscious and due, I'm sure, to stress. A few years ago my dentist referred me to an oral surgeon to see if it might have developed into something cancerous (yikes!) Luckily it has not, but I go back to the oral surgeon every few years to have it checked out. I don't have any advice for you, but just wanted to give my experience. I look forward to hearing other responses to your question. anon.

I nervously chewed on the inside of my mouth when I was a teenager and my dentist noticed. He said it caused a callous- like condition called leukoplakia. He biopsied it to be on the safe side, because it is classified as a pre-cancerous condition. My jaw and facial structure are such as the cheek gets caught in my molars and a ridge forms. I was told to not chew or bother it, to limit irritants (smoking,etc.) and have it checked regularly. I usually ask the dentist to have a look during my regular check-ups. anon

How can I stop biting the insides of my cheeks?

June 2010

Can you recommend a hypnotherapist or other method to help me stop this unpleasant habit? I'm 40 and since I can remember I've bitten on the inside of my cheeks. Creepy and ugly, I know. I''m sure I do it when people can see, and it must look awful. The lines on my face from it are finally getting so bad that I want to do something to stop. Hypnosis comes to mind, but I don't know anything about that. Any advice? BTW when I was younger I picked my fingernails, and my mom definitely picks at herself, maybe this is some kind of OCD? I just want to stop. Help!! ready to stop biting

I did this through most of my childhood. I can't remember when I stopped or how, but I was well into high school before I did. I has always been about anxiety for me. Places to go for help: Look up trichotillomania. This is technically hair pulling, but it all falls under the category ''Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors,'' and they often use Trich as a shorthand for the category. You can also do some reading on OCD-like behaviors, to help you determine whether you think you really have this condition as well: Personally, I have found that trying to stop the behavior does little to no good....I have to stop the anxiety that causes the tension that requires the behavior for relief. Lots of exercise, good diet, sleep, honest relationships all go a long way to creating the harmony that makes the biting and picking unnecessary. Good luck in your journey. fellow picker

I have been struggling with very similar habits, bit the inside of my cheeks for awhile, always picking at my cuticles, etc. I've read about OCD and Trichotillomania, and can suggest you request a book that really helped stop the behaviors. It's called ''Habit Control in a Day'', the authors are Nathan H. Azrin, Ph.D., and R. Gregory Nunn, Ph.D. I think it's out of print as I had to use the library's LINK system to get it; I believe it came up from Cal Poly's library. I highly recommend that you read about and try the simple substitute behaviors that the authors suggest in their book. Good luck to you! Elaine

Toddler is chewing her lower lip

Aug 2009


My 2-years old has recently started this new habit of chewing her lower lip. As an infant, she never used pacifier and didn't use to suck her thumb either. She goes to a daycare and I think she saw someone chewing his/her lip and she started doing it too.

I try to tell her not to do it but since she spends most of her day in daycare, it is becoming very difficult to get rid of her habit. She chews the lip when she's about to go to sleep, while sleeping and even when she's just sitting and playing.

Because of all this chewing, her lip appears to be swollen and the skin underneath the lip has also darkened.

Is there any way I can help her to get rid of this habit? Are there any long term effects if she continues to do this -- any effects to her teeth or gums?

Please advice. worried mom

Hi- I did this same thing until I was five. My early pictures are quite a sight -- blue and swollen lips.

Back in the day(30 years ago) docs and my mom were not worried about it. I outgrew it and am a normal person now.

I wouldn't fret. I can remember doing this not because it was soothing like a pacifier, but that it was just something to do. Apparently later in jr. high I curled my lips while concentrating while doing math. Just a sign of my concentration! funky, blue and normal too!

Baby Biting His Lips

Nov 2001

Our 10-month old is having trouble with his new teeth. He runs his tongue and lips over them frequently and pretty roughly, resulting in raw patches inside his lips and tongue. The sores obviously hurt him, he cries when he bites them, but he can't seem to leave them alone long enough for them to heal. He's also chewing on his fingers a lot, which makes me think that more teeth are on their way (he has four now). We have tried cold teethers, rubber teethers, teething bisquits, but he's still chewing on his fingers and lips. Has anyone had a similar experience? We know that this is NOT a symptom of the genetic disease Lesch-Nyhan, but are pretty disturbed by it, especially as the nurse-practitioner we spoke to seemed to think this was unusual. Kim

The thing that worked best for me was a washcloth made out of terrycloth. You can put it in the freezer when it is damp and let it get nice and cold. (There are also a lot of boutiques that sell the "boo-boo bunnies, a terrycloth towel folded in the shape of a bunny with a cold round teether inside - we took it out and just put the damp bunny in the freezer) The stubbiness of the fabric was enough to help massage the irritated gums and give relief, which is what it sounds like he needs the most. You didn't say if you tried the Ambisol products or the prescription equivalents. Both of my kids used the washclothes and besides giving them something to bits down on, it helped with the drueling (which they were unaware of) and they were easy to wash. Marianne