We’ve all caught ourselves biting our cheeks from time to time, which is a seemingly harmless habit that can often be attributed to stress, anxiety, or even just absentmindedness. While it might not seem like a big deal at first, your dentist in Portland knows that consistently biting your cheeks could potentially lead to problems for your teeth and overall oral health. But why exactly is this habit problematic and what can you do to decrease the dental risks associated with it?
The Habitual Cheek Bite
Biting your cheeks might seem innocuous, but when done regularly, it can have repercussions beyond just temporary discomfort. Habitual cheek biting involves repeatedly clenching your teeth down on the soft tissue of your inner cheeks. Over time, this can cause irritation, inflammation, and even result in sores or ulcers in the mouth. While these symptoms might be uncomfortable on their own, they can also indirectly affect your teeth.
Dental Damage: Consistent cheek biting can create pressure on your teeth. This constant pressure can result in micro-fractures, chips, or cracks in your teeth. Over time, this damage might necessitate dental treatments such as dental bonding, fillings, or even crowns to restore the affected teeth.
Shift in Tooth Alignment: Habitual cheek biting can also affect the alignment of your teeth. The repetitive movement of your teeth against the cheek can push them out of their natural positions, potentially leading to malocclusion or misalignment. This might require treatment from your dentist in Portland to correct the issue.
Bruxism Aggravation: Cheek biting is often associated with bruxism – the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth, usually during sleep. Bruxism can lead to enamel erosion, tooth sensitivity, and jaw pain. Habitual cheek biting can exacerbate these issues, intensifying the impact of bruxism on your dental health.
Prevention and Management
There are several ways you can prevent dental damage caused by habitual cheek biting including:
Awareness and Mindfulness: The first step in addressing cheek biting is to become more aware of when you’re doing it. Pay attention to moments when you catch yourself biting your cheeks, and try to identify any triggers. Practicing mindfulness and stress reduction techniques can also help minimize the instances of cheek biting.
Mouthguards: For those who find it challenging to control cheek biting, your dentist in Portland can create custom mouthguards or splints to help. These devices act as a barrier between your teeth and cheeks, preventing direct contact and reducing the potential damage caused by clenching and grinding.
Biting your cheeks might seem like a minor concern, but its impact on your dental health can be significant. From dental damage and misalignment to exacerbating bruxism-related problems, this seemingly harmless habit can lead to various oral health issues. The key lies in awareness, stress management, and seeking professional guidance when needed. By taking steps to address and mitigate cheek biting, you can preserve your dental health and maintain a confident smile for years to come. Remember, a proactive approach to oral health can lead to a happier and healthier mouth.