Your back teeth, called your molars, are the most useful in your whole mouth for chewing food. But they can get in the way sometimes due to a quirk of our evolution, which has decreased the sizes of our jaws over time but left those back teeth the same.
This is why nearly everyone today needs to have their wisdom teeth removed, even though they never bothered our ancestors. Our mouths just don’t have room for them. For anyone, but especially for those with smaller-than-average jaws, this can mean that you accidentally bite your cheek with those pesky back teeth.
If you’re asking yourself why do my back teeth keep biting my cheek? We wrote this guide on why you keep biting your cheek, how you can stop, and what you can do about it if it happens.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
Why Do My Back Teeth Keep Biting My Cheek?
If you’re tired of getting sores from biting your cheeks, you may be wondering just why it’s happening. Well, there’s no easy answer because so many people do it automatically. As with other habits like nail-biting and eyebrow-pulling, cheek-biting can happen absentmindedly, when you’re stressed, or just when you’re distracted.
However, there could be a more entrenched reason. For example, you may have what’s called a “deflection” in your arch that causes your back teeth to point toward your cheeks, making them easier to injure. Deviating molars can also get in the way.
Additionally, some people bite their cheeks as a repetitive coping mechanism to deal with anxiety. They may not know that they’re doing it until they notice the sores.
Injuries Caused by Cheek-Biting
It’s uncommon for biting your cheek to cause any permanent damage or real pain. However, bleeding is possible, as is a common chronic sore called a “canker sore,” which forms a whitish lump in your mouth that can be uncomfortable.
If you continue to bite your cheek, you can eventually wear down your tissues and make it easier to get sores. Some people also experience an injury called mucosa, which is a tear in the mouth lining.
Basically, it’s hard to do serious damage to your cheeks, but any of these injuries can be painful and annoying.
How to Stop Biting
The best way to treat cheek bites is to prevent them. We know it’s easier said than done, but there are some easy tricks to stopping the habit that may work for you.
The first is to lower stress. If your cheek biting is a result of uncontrolled anxiety, reducing the stress could stop your body from reaching for its painful coping mechanism. Therapy that focuses on repetitive behaviors like cheek-biting can also help treat the problem indirectly by changing your reaction to the emotional triggers that lead to it in the first place.
Sometimes, this stress can be tackled head-on through behavior modification or by removing the stressful triggers from your environment. Meditation and mindfulness could help. A therapist could even recommend medications to treat your stress, which may lead to a reduction in cheek biting.
Another way to stop yourself from biting your cheek is to redirect the anxiety, even if you can’t cure the cause. Chewing gum (preferably sugar-free) can be an effective substitute for cheek biting. As you work out your stress on your gum, your cheeks will thank you for the opportunity to rest.
How to Treat Cheek Bites
If all else fails and you bite your cheeks, you may want a pain-relieving solution to get through it so you don’t have to be constantly annoyed for the next few days.
Doctors can prescribe an inflammation-fighting mouth rinse to help with the pain. However, there are over-the-counter options such as rinses containing Benzocaine like Anbesol. Vitamin E can be applied topically to keep the area clean. Sometimes, ice can help by lowering inflammation.
Most of the time, though, you’ll probably just tough it out, which is why it’s important to try and prevent cheek-biting before it strikes.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.