Cheek Biting Reasons, Chronic, While Asleep, How to Stop & Treat a Bitten Cheek 

I keep biting my cheek. How can I stop biting and chewing habit? When I bite them while I am asleep, does it mean I have a disorder or habit? What causes you to start chewing your cheeks?

Why do I bite my cheeks?

Let us look at some common reasons and causes why people keep biting cheeks.  Remember that it may at times occur mindlessly or without one’s awareness.

1.      Poor chewing habits

A bad chewing habit can make you bite inside cheek. It is a common thing amongst children who like talking or reading while chewing gum. This happens because of the distraction of the mind which is converted to focus and attention required by the brain.

If you chew carelessly you can bite your tongue and inner lips. It is generally thought to be good manners to eat slowly and try avoid visual and other distractions when eating.

2.      Teeth misalignment

People with a poor teeth alignment are more likely to chew their cheeks but not because of a bad ‘chewing’ habit. It is rather because their teeth do no close together or have gaps left in between. New Health Advisor informs that your brain tries to ‘fill in the gaps’ but misaligned teeth “create a psychological dependency” meaning that your perception of the brain is an important factor in regard to this problem.

If you get a chronic cheek biting this teeth problem is undoubtedly one of its causes.

3.      Anxiety disorders

Another reason is suffering from any kind of anxiety. These disorders are well marked by individuals who exhibit loss of self-control and have an unusually increased stress pattern. As Dr. Abhishek Bhadranna reinstates in Doctors’ Circle, such people can get involved in chewing gums to help them stop it growing habitual.

4. Chronic cheek bite Keratosis

Closely related to anxiety disorder, if you keep biting your inside cheeks repetitively you may have a mental disorder “which is a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) comparable to hair pulling, nail biting, and frequent blinking.” []. In fact this problem begins right during your late childhood and is said to even last the whole of your child life.

5. Sucking them

This is attributed to a burning mouth syndrome relieving action. However, sometimes this activity can be a possible cause of biting your lips. A “forceful or aberrant nutritional sucking on the nipple of the bottle” literally pulls the inner cheeks closer to the teeth making it prone to teeth biting. This is a problem common in infants.

Biting cheek in sleep. Is it stress or emotions?

Do you find yourself biting inside of cheeks while sleeping? You are not alone. Chewing your mouth too often means not only suffering from stressful experiences of the past but also is a way of coping with these unavoidable circumstances in the name of stress. According to psychologists, many people cannot escape facing the reality of stress and have to learn relaxation techniques.

Even though the biter is aware of its injurious effects, it is a pushing or compulsive force for the affected individuals. What do people do to get out of boredom and moving emotions? Some start chewing their mouths when they are inactive or get bored.


Without a closer dental examination, some of the common inner cheek bite symptoms may go unnoticed. Some of the symptoms surface when you get a painful mouth sore from this problem. They include symptoms such as:

  • Thickened and ragged line of mucous membrane symptomatic of oral frictional keratosis,
  • Ulcers, black spots or callus along bitten inside part,
  • In case of a chronic inner cheeks biting and ulcers, a line of linea alba is presently visible as a long stretch,
  • If there is pain, it could indicate an infection,
  • Bleeding, swelling and tenderness on buccal mucosa,
  • Burning sensation may be reported.

Take a look at the picture provided.

How to treat and Remedies

While some people do not require any special kind of treatment if your mucosal lining feels like rough, bumpy small hills and bleeds you need serious treatments to deal with it.


Wash your mouth after every meal and drink to remove food particles and prevent debris build up. Whether you presently have wounds cleaning is important to prevent infections and other unlikely occurrences such as the smelling and bad breath.

Avoid hot foods

Avoiding hot foods can accelerate healing. Unfortunately, if you are used to hot meals this is not something to indulge in anymore. In the first place, it can be a source of discomfort. Besides it may result to formation of mouth sores inside cheek. Moreover, there could be a possibility of wounds.

Stop it from bleeding

Sometimes bleeding may result due to a this problem. A simple thing you have to do is to apply pressure on the mouth lining with help of your tongue.

Apply a cold Compress

The inside cheek may become swollen especially when you are a chronic biter. What you need to do is to wrap pieces of ice in a piece of cotton cloth and then hold it on the outside cheeks of the affected area.

Pain Relief Treatments

Definitely, that pain is going to give you sleepless nights unless you take painkillers. If you have no cases of allergic reactions to medicines, pills or tablets, you can use ibuprofen or aspirin. However, if pain persists for more than a day’s period of time, seek medical help and get a better way out to heal the biting. Take caution that if you ignore mouth sores are likely to develop and become wounds.

Use saline solution to rinse

This is another simple remedy to help you relieve of pain and reduce swelling and is also good for cleaning.

If you do not have the saline solution prepare yours by adding a small amount of salt to warm water. Use it to gargle. Do it several times a day.

Chronic cheek biting – Morsicatio buccarum

As we saw earlier, one of the common cause is to do with teeth misalignment.

Morsicatio buccarum or chronic cheek chewing is a type of frictional keratosis. It is a condition caused by “repetitive chewing, biting or nibbling,” [] characterized by chronic irritation to buccal mucosa (the softling tissue on the inside of cheeks). This irritation is basically caused injury due to frictional or crushing nature of “parafunctional activity of the masticatory system.”

Another possible cause of chronic cases is poorly constructed prosthetic teeth or false teeth. Dentures that are not well constructed lack the necessary support from the underlying oral tissues and gums and hence have poor stability.

Many times people with learning disorders, disabilities and psychiatric disorders get a severe self-damage also termed as self-mutilation. Individuals with such disorders are also prone to chronic cheek chewing.

One characteristic of chronic cases is the development of lesions. During diagnosis of Morsicatio buccarum, these lesions may be obtained for analysis purposes.

How do you stop cheek biting?

Why is stopping cheek biting necessary? Some instances involving can prove to render it unavoidable. Now, if you bite your inner cheek because of behavior you have to learn to cope with various measures.


This is one of the simple remedies to tackling the issue (particularly in children). Bur there is no restriction for adults who are biting cheeks in sleep. A good piece of mouth guard should be designed by your dentist so that it caters for your specific need. A typical guard fits well over the upper teeth but some people can as well get ones made for their lower teeth.

The only drawback of using a mouth guard is trying to get used to it. Otherwise, if you do not use a guard made from a medium-soft material you may end up with irritated buccal mucosa.

Go for teeth correction

Do you do it due to misaligned teeth and wisdom tooth? Consider to go for plastic surgery to correct and help shape your teeth properly and stop cheek-biting.

Adopt to slow chewing manners

Optionally you can learn to start eating more slowly while avoiding distractions that cause accidental cheek bite.

Avoid picking or rubbing them

Thirdly, it is also quite considerable to avoid rubbing particularly when there are broken teeth in your mouth. In addition, whenever you feel roughness in inner cheeks stop picking or scratching your mucosae using your fingernails.


In case you experience traumatic pain associated with this problem go for clinical tests and evaluation of your oral lesions. It is quite critical to note that an oral lesion or cheek bite sore can typically resemble a symptom of oral cancer. Chronic bit cheeks is highly connected with Oral Frictional (Hyper) keratosis as it is one of its causes.

Reference and Cited Work
  5. An update of July 14, 2015.