Mouth biting is a compulsive body behaviour that causes you to repeatedly nibble or bite the inner mouth skin. Its like fingernail biting or skin picking it is classified as a body-focused repetitive behaviour (BFRB).
For non-mouth biters, it’s hard to understand why you would bite and attack your mouth (mucosa), lips or tongue. But for those who are aware of the problem and suffer from it certainly know about it.
The red sores, painful tearing and constant swelling becomes a normal part of life and forms an embarrassing habit that you just can not break. The cycle of repetitive nibbling and smoothing skin only increases the urge to bite more. In extreme cases, the shame and hopeless of this compulsive behaviour can become a problem with the person withdrawing from social situations to prevent others from seeing their problem.
Generally, though most biters can and do function throughout their daily lives with the behaviour and you may not even be aware they are doing it. Mouth biting is more common for people who experience high levels of stress or anxiety. These people feel the need to check their inner mouth skin and any bump or crater may produce the need to reduce the sore and remodel it into a smooth surface.
Other people can be on autopilot when they begin biting, they may be sitting down or waiting at a bus stop. Just gently nibbling and only become aware of the damage after they have farmed the area.
Mouth biting has both behavioural and emotional components so care needs to be taken to address both needs when quitting. Similar to other BFRBs, managing the behaviour is only going to be successful if you are aware you are doing it.
Self-management and methods to quit mouth biting
Firstly you need to be aware when you are doing it, and become mindful of your triggers.
Second, re-educate yourself on techniques or methods to alter the behaviour habit. The trick is to observe yourself and notice the signals before you bite. The techniques are simple and can be very effective with the right person and environment.
Often the act of mouth biting is linked to a self-soothing sensation, so we try to replace the biting behaviour with another more beneficial one. This can be cheek or tongue exercises that improve your overall mouth posture. Great results have been gained and experienced from proper body and mouth posture, this re-focus massively reduces the need to bite. Once you have retrained yourself to pay attention to a more positive outcome your mind will take the bait and reprogram itself.
There are often emotional needs to continued biting that are buried deeper which fuel the behaviour. You should attempt to think back to when you first started the biting. Ask yourself, why did I start, was I stressed, sad or anxious?
The biting can be used as a self-coping strategy to relieve emotional or physical pain. Understanding the reasons behind the behaviour can be useful, but do not dwell on it too much.
Finally, it is beneficial to have emotional support when quitting
Studies have concluded those who have good social support during learning have a higher level of success and more positive retention of new knowledge. Be bold and take the step and ask a close friend or support person to assist you with quitting. They do not have to be a non-biter, just a decent person who understands you and can walk with you on this journey.
Try our Online Stop Mouth Biting Course
Quit Mouth Biting is an informative course designed to alter the core functioning of your mouth including chewing and mouth posture. We aim to teach and not just tell you what to do. The course is based on research and the daily activities are fun and easy. The lessons are real learning’s from other biters who have successfully quit. We collated the findings of this research and designed new methods to put it into a quit course that we know works. Good luck and have fun! Quitmouthbiting.com