Does Chewing Your Cheeks Damage Your Teeth?
Nervous habits, such as chewing the inside of your cheeks or mouth, aren't always great for your oral health. If you're a mouth chewer, your dentist may advise you to try to stop. While you may think that your dentist is just worried about damage to your soft tissues, chewing your cheeks may also give you problems with your teeth and gums. How does this work?
Mouth Ulcers and Sores
While you can get mouth ulcers and sores for various reasons, such as stress and immune system problems, these kinds of issues can also be caused by damage to the soft tissues in your mouth such as accidentally or purposefully biting the inside of your cheeks. If you habitually chew on areas of your mouth, you may be more prone to developing problem areas of ulceration that continue to develop as long as your habit continues.
You may think that ulcers and sores are just uncomfortable by-products of your habit that won't have any effects on your teeth because of their position on your soft tissues. However, having regular problems with ulcers can give you some knock-on dental problems.
Mouth Ulcers and Oral Hygiene
If you have one or more ulcers or sore spots in your mouth, you may find that brushing your teeth in that part of your mouth is very painful. If this happens, your natural reaction may be to avoid brushing your teeth and gums around these ulcer points to try to minimise the pain of brushing.
If you regularly chew on a specific area of your mouth and always have ulcers there, you may pay less attention to cleaning your teeth and gums correctly in this area for extended periods of time. If you aren't able to keep your teeth clean from bacteria and food debris, you may end up with decay problems; not being able to keep your gums bacteria free can also lead to gum disease issues.
The best way to avoid these issues is to deal with your current ulcers in the short-term and to then try to break your habit of chewing your cheeks as soon as possible. During this process, you may find it helpful to brush with a softer toothbrush to reduce your pain. Your dentist will also be able to recommend mouthwashes that might deal with the bacteria you're not able to manage right now until you get your ulcers sorted out.