It’s surprisingly easy to bite your lips accidentally. Movement of the jaw and tongue is often instinctive while chewing or speaking, and if your lips or gums happen to get in the way then it’s not uncommon for your jaw to automatically clamp down on them. However, if biting your lips and gums has become a habitual behaviour, then you may need to address the effects that persistent lip and gum biting can have on your oral health.
Usually when people bite their lips or gums, they would experience only slight swelling and some pain that lasts for a few hours. However, if a bite is more severe, or if you repeatedly bite or chew on the same piece of skin, it could lead to more severe oral health issues or be an indication that something is not as it should be.
If you are biting down in the same spot repeatedly yet accidently, it could be a sign of malocclusion or a wayward tooth that has become misaligned. This can be an especially common problem amongst people whose wisdom teeth are growing in. The emergence of wisdom teeth can cause a lot of changes around the mouth, especially the positioning of the teeth around it. If there is not enough space in your mouth to accommodate your wisdom tooth/teeth, you may find your teeth shifting slightly in order to make room, which can result in certain teeth falling forwards or backwards into a position where the skin of your cheek or lip can catch on them when you close your mouth. If this is the case, seeing an orthodontist may be the best solution. They will be able to provide you with solutions as well as options to correct or prevent the shifting of your teeth.
Sometimes, when you bite down on the skin inside your mouth, you may be left with a sore that lasts for a several days and can be quite painful. As well as being generally uncomfortable and interfering with daily activities, these sores can be susceptible to infection and lead to a range of oral health complications. An infected oral sore can become additionally more painful, take longer to heal or not heal at all, or may spread around the mouth and body. Hand, foot and mouth disease for example, is a viral infection that can come as a result of an infected oral sore and results in fever, coughing, a loss of appetite, stomach pain and a sore throat. Infections can also spread around the mouth to the gums and teeth, causing dental abscesses. In order to prevent this from occurring, you must be extra wary about your oral hygiene when you have an oral sore. Clean your teeth and floss regularly and use an antibacterial mouthwash to reduce the risk of infection. Good quality antibacterial mouthwashes can be found in our best mouthwash options.
To stop biting your lips/gums, you need to first identify the cause. Is this accidental behaviour or habitual? If you are constantly biting your lips/gums due to a nervous habit, you need to identify what it is that causes you to chew your gums and seek help from your dentist, family and friends to help you put a stop to it. In time, you will find that stomping down this bad habit before it can have negative effects will save you a lot of grief in the future.