Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns we suggest you consult your GP.

Obsessive cheek biting?

(12 Posts)
Bubblegum89 Thu 18-Jun-15 22:04:24

I have had this horrible habit since I was a child (I'm now 26) I bite the skin on the insides of my cheeks. I usually do it without realising but sometimes I do it out of boredom or whatever. I was told when I was about 17 by my dentist it can cause oral cancer. Which obviously terrified me and I've tried to stop many times but I just can't seem to. I do it all the time, like an OCD thing. Does anybody else do this? Or has anyone done this in the past and found a way to stop? As a medically diagnosed hypochondriac/health anxiety sufferer with a primary fear of cancer, I want to try and start reversing the damage before I do myself real damage.

rabbitstew Fri 19-Jun-15 10:46:44

Maybe a visit to your GP would be a good idea, if you have generalised health anxiety. I would have thought anything from a mouth guard (if you bite your cheeks in your sleep, too) to relaxation techniques, CBT and antidepressants could help with obsessive anxiety-related cheek biting.

MajesticWhine Fri 19-Jun-15 22:33:01

This is an impulse control disorder. It is seen by psychologists as similar to hair pulling (trichotillomania) or skin picking. I think the standard treatments for anxiety might be helpful, such as SSRIs (a type of anti-depressant medication that helps with anxiety) or mindfulness / MBCT. Anything else that relieves stress would be helpful too. Mindfulness improves your present-moment awareness, so could help you to be more in touch with your actions and notice the urge / impulse before you act on it? There are lots of apps and online resources that can teach you mindfulness, but attending a class is the best way to learn it.

dementedpixie Fri 19-Jun-15 22:45:13

I still do this at the age of 41! nothing more to add really

sanfairyanne Fri 19-Jun-15 23:16:23

i do this
a quick google turns up no harmful side effects beyond the usual sore cheeks etc. no cancer link.

Haggisfish Fri 19-Jun-15 23:17:39

I do this too.

IsJustMe Fri 19-Jun-15 23:58:36

I've done it for many many more years than you have, although less now than when I was younger. I used to worry about the damage I might be causing, my dentist said it wouldn't do anything.

Queenofknickers Sat 20-Jun-15 00:04:42

I do this too. I don't see why it would cause cancer - wonder what the scientific basis is for that? I also have anxiety disorder and I do it much more when under stress. Mind you I skin pick and teeth grind too so Ill probably cave in shortly hmm

HappenstanceMarmite Sat 20-Jun-15 00:15:05

Fellow cheek-chewer here. Also hack at skin around fingernails until sore. Do it unconsciously all the bloody time. Especially when driving (other hand on wheel!).

Holden10 Sat 20-Jun-15 13:50:58

It was my understanding that a higher turnover of cell regeneration to fix the part you've bitten off, leads to a higher mutation risk and therefore increased cancer risk, but I imagine this is negligible and just said as a scare tactic to stop kids doing it. I dont think there's a real risk to cheek biting.

Waxlyrically Sat 20-Jun-15 22:28:43

I'm 47 and have always chewed the inside of my mouth. Wish I could stop but I like to think it can't be that harmful.

sayerville Sun 21-Jun-15 20:53:51

Another cheek chewer here! Didn't know it was harmful, I really hope not done it all my life, I will ask my dentist next month.
I also bite my fingers and pick at spots/skin, just awful I know I have a disorder called CSP (constant skin picking) I just can't help it i do it without realising.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now