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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Biting tongue

02/27/2006

Question:

I have been biting my tongue for years, and now it is getting a lot worse to the point where I can`t even eat and I have lost a significant amount of weight. I have been to an ENT doctor and a dentist. They have perscribed atibiotics but none of them seem to help. I can`t seem to stop biting my tongue because it has been bitten so many times that it seems to overlap over my teeth. How do i get it back to normal again. Is there some kind of appliance that might help. Anything? This is a very irritating and uncomfortable situation. I have raw spots where I have been biting my tongue. I know this is an unusual problem, but i really hope that you can help me. This seems to be my last resort, and I don`t know what else to do.

Answer:

It is difficult to tell from your letter what is causing your tongue biting situation. It sounds like you have been to a dentist and were treated for an infection of the tongue. You did not say if you have lost some teeth. If you have, replacing these teeth with some type of prosthetic device may benefit you. When we lose a large number of back teeth, our tongue will expand to fill in this space so that it is easier to swallow and talk. When an appliance is placed in your mouth, the tongue takes a while to adjust to the loss of space and is often bitten. Wear the appliance and the problem will subside.

If you have not lost any teeth, it is possible that your dentist could fabricate a night guard appliance which should reduce your ability to bite your teeth. If you are biting it while chewing, it may benefit you to eat more slowly and concentrate on keeping the tongue from being bitten.

If this is a habit, I believe there are over-the-counter medicines that can be applied that are very bad in taste.  The bad taste is intentional to help you stop the biting. Check your local Walgreens, CVS, etc.

These are only possibilities. It would be best to be seen on a regular basis by a dentist so that your situation can be diagnosed more accurately.  Hope this helps.

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Response by:

Janet L Bolina, DDS
Clinical Associate Professor of Primary Care Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University

D Stanley Sharples, DDS
Clinical Assistant Professor of Primary Care Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University