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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Mouth chewing

01/16/2007

Question:

I have this terrible habit of chewing the inside of my mouth, mostly in the front. I have done it since I was a kid. It is worse when I am stressed. I can often go for several days without doing it, but then I find myself chewing it again. Is there longterm harm in this? Is there an non-medication way to stop it? I do like to chew gum and that helps but I can`t chew gum all the time. We tend to have Tourettes run in the family, is this part of it? My main concern is if I can stop and if there is a long term problem.

Answer:

Many people have this problem.  The most common side effect from chewing on a lip or cheek is the formation of firm tissue in the area.  It is called a fibroma.  The can be whitish or normal tissue color.  Anytime you constantly irritate or damage an area, it is susceptible to healing in an abnormal manner.  This is exceedingly rare.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no medication that will help with this.  Since it is not a constant issue, getting fitted for an appliance to help prevent this seems excessive.

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Response by:

Daniel Nathan Reed, DDS Daniel Nathan Reed, DDS
Clinical Associate Professor of Primary Care Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University