Lesions inside the mouth caused by biting your cheeks can be extremely painful! Compulsively biting at your cheeks; also known as morsicatio buccarum, is classified as a body-focused repetitive disorder (BFRD) and falls into the same category as nail biting, hair pulling, and skin picking. The most common times for people to bite their cheeks is during moments of stress or anxiety, but this behavior can also be a residual pattern from a difficult time in life, so that you may find yourself gnawing at your cheeks even when your just bored or while relaxing.
Most people who exhibit this behavior feel a compulsion to even out or smooth the skin around a lesion and are continually biting at the same place. This repeated damage to a particular area can cause scars to form on the delicate tissue. There is also some risk of infection to these areas, and it stands to reason that if you are introducing carcinogens such as alcohol and nicotine, you may have an increased risk of oral cancer.
I recently saw a client in my office who started biting as a reaction to adolescent stress; this was a habit that continued through to adulthood, and she would often get at her cheeks even in times when she was not particularly stressed. She called me when her dentist warned that the problem had become too destructive and it was time to seek help. She expressed feelings of shame and being out of control. She stated that no one but she and her dentist were aware that the perfect image she portrayed to the world wasn’t quite so complete. Unlike nail biting or skin picking, this particular form of bodily abuse is taking place behind secreted lips; where no one can see that you are literally eating yourself up inside.
Body-focused repetitive disorders like cheek biting take place at the subconscious level, and a biting session will often begin without your conscious awareness. Because of the compulsion to smooth out the affected area, once a biting session has started, it is difficult to stop; this makes the likelihood of being able to resolve the problem through willpower almost impossible. Pharmaceuticals and supplements have proven to be ineffective, and while talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy can be helpful, these methods can take months or even years to show any marked improvement.
The best course of action for quickly treating and eliminating the cheek biting habit is by using mindfulness techniques such as hypnosis. Through the use of hypnosis, you can discover the original reason for the cheek biting compulsion and address the problem where it began. Whether it be stress, anxiety, boredom, or fear; you can resolve the issue quickly. Your therapist will give properly worded suggestions to the subconscious mind so that you begin to respond to triggers with new healthier responses automatically and without any conscious effort. Hypnosis uses the space between thoughts to transform the destructive patterns of the past in as little as one to five relaxing sessions.
Written by Tara Martin CH, Airó Hypnosis