One of the unconscious things that we, as humans, do is tongue biting. While biting your tongue is a tiny, little movement, it causes extreme pain at the moment and can sometimes cause bleeding- ranging from momentary to non-stop bleeding.
Have you ever wondered, “Why do I keep biting my tongue?”
Occasional tongue biting is frustrating and agonizes your entire body. However, when it happens often, tongue bite is something that you should be concerned about. When people bite their tongue more often, it needs medical attention, and you must seek treatment to prevent more serious symptoms.
When you seek medical attention, the first and foremost thing to do is unveil the reason behind it – it’s not just an involuntary moment if it’s happening way too often.
First, let’s understand when you should seek medical attention. Here’s when :
- There is excessive bleeding which does not seem to stop after a considerable time (10-15 minutes)
- The area of the mouth shows signs of an infection
- Irregular pulse rate – either too fast or fainting
- Stressed breathing and experiencing certain blockage in the throat
- The skin seems to get pale
Why do I keep biting my tongue: When does it happen
To understand the causes of frequent tongue biting, it is important to determine when the action takes place and what activity you are doing. This will let you unearth the reason and help you deal with the problem better.
This is one of the most common actions that we perform during which we accidentally bite our tongue. Sure, we are savoring a delicious meal, and our eating speed is bound to be a lot faster than usual.
You are chewing on your favorite food, enjoying every bit and taste of it, and OUCH! You bit your tongue, and the entire experience of enjoying this meal is ruined with utter pain and discomfort.
When this happens once or twice, it’s something you can brush off as a mistake. But if it happens every third or fourth time, you should dig deeper into the vital question of “why do I keep biting my tongue?“.
Why this happens generates from distraction, which essentially breaks the coordination between the mind and actions. Usually, it happens when you are immersed in a thoughtful idea or attempting to speak while eating.
Relatively, this is not a serious reason for tongue biting. Traditional families brush this issue off with the reasoning – “maybe you’re just chubby!”
Biting your tongue when you are wide awake is still acceptable as a conscious mistake, but when nighttime tongue biting comes into play, that’s when you should be worried.
Because you are not making any voluntary movements in the state of sleeping, every movement that takes place is bound to be a reason for worry.
The reason for the same varies. Some of those that hail from peer-reviewed studies are given below :
Facial muscle spasms
Generally observed in children, a facial muscle spasm involves the inability to control the jaw and face muscles when sleeping, which then causes uncontrollable trembling. This rapid movement of the jaw causes one to bite their tongue. The scientific term for this condition is faciomandibular myoclonus.
In simple terms, we know sleep bruxism as teeth grinding. This is a common problem that affects many people at some other point of age: excessive grinding while sleeping can cause tiredness and soreness, typically in the teeth and jaw.
But sometimes, it can also cause small bites on the tongue. You, as the sleeper, will not be able to be aware of this symptom and will often find out about it through the ones sleeping next to or around you because of the cluttering noise that it creates.
People who are diagnosed with epilepsy are the ones who tend to go through uncontrollable seizures. These sudden movements of Epileptic seizures can cause cheek biting and similar tongue injuries, which may or may not bleed.
These injuries are usually observed on the foremost part of the tongue – its tip and side. The injuries that form at the side of the tongue tend to affect your speaking ability and hinder your chewing habits too.
This is a serious sleep disorder that involves sudden stopping and starting breathing. Tongue biting is not a direct outcome of this disorder but is related to it. People diagnosed with sleep apnea have been observed to have a large tongue when compared with the usual size.
This causes the mouth to relax and destress in a much different way than normal. Because of this abnormal relaxing of the tongue, the inner movements of the mouth are hindered.
Do you have Sleep Apnea?
Look for symptoms such as – excessive sleepiness and tiredness during the daytime, getting a bad headache first thing in the morning, sudden gasping of air when sleeping, and loud snoring, which persists for an extended period.
Although, it is still a lot better to consult a doctor first to rule out (or in) if you have this sleep disorder.
Rhythmic Movement Disorder
In most cases, children are the ones most affected by this. This involves the person to repeat movements such as humming and headbanging. This causes tongue injuries because of the rapidness of the movement. The sudden movements can trick the person off and have them lose control.
This disease is caused due to bacteria, ticks to be precise. The correlation between Lyme disease and tongue biting is not direct, but the former may affect reflexes and the nervous system, which in turn may play a role in accidentally biting your tongue.
Other than these, a few more symptoms to look to determine if you bite your tongue are:
Tongue bleeding with visible red streaks, swelling on some parts of the tongue, ulcer forming on the tip or sides of the tongue, and cuts.
Now that you know the reasons as to “why do I keep biting my tongue,” let’s look at some of the solutions.
Once you know the answer to “why do I keep biting my tongue,” it gets easy to find suitable treatments.
To treat tongue biting generated through a specific reason, it is important first to understand what is causing it – because this is how the medical treatment is processed. Certain cases require more professional assistance, while others can be treated with even home remedies.
A mouthguard is also known as a mouth protector. These are U-shaped and are appropriate to provide a comfortable cushion to your mouth. These are advised to be used by people diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and Bruxism.
Types of mouth guards vary and need a thorough cleaning to avoid bacteria making their way towards your gum. So, the best option to get one is first to consult your dentist to prescribe a suitable mouthguard.
People suffering from nighttime seizures and muscle spasms can consider this medication to prevent seizures.
People who have Lyme disease and Rhythmic movement disorder should follow their doctor’s instructions strictly. The solution to their habit of tongue biting will be cured when the root issue is cured.
Common tongue injuries caused due to a bite tend to heal quickly. Developing ulcers and redness should be paid attention to, making normal tasks such as talking or chewing difficult and frustrating.
It is of utmost importance that proper healing time is provided and keep the wound clean.
Other treatments include
One of the reasons backing up Bruxism is stress. Sure, it is important to reduce stress for several reasons but preventing tongue biting. Tongue biting is also a mindless outcome of a nervous habit. These nervous habits are caused by stress again.
Relaxation methods such as Yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises are among the most advisable ways of reducing stress. Other than these, you can pick up any activity or hobby that calms you and make a pact to spend a little time at it regularly.
If you keep wondering, “Why do I keep biting my tongue” and are frustrated with the same, look for the following simple yet effective home remedy.
Home treatments are usually the first and foremost rescue method for any difficulty. To treat a tongue bite, do the following :
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly but gently with water – not too cold, not too hot.
- Check whether tooth pieces or alienated items caused the cut. Make sure to wear clean gloves if you attempt to put your hand inside your mouth.
- To relieve swelling, press on ice cubes or crushed ice wrapped in a cloth. This will help minimize bumpiness, redness and ease the pain. Be careful not to chug down ice-cold water directly.
- Applying pressure on the wound with a fresh and clean piece of cloth will help stop bleeding.
- If the bleeding is uncontrollable and does not stop after ten minutes, seek immediate medical attention.
How to prevent tongue biting?
- Ensure proper safety to your jaw and face when playing sports by wearing helmets or mouth guards. Mouth or face injuries during sports or any specific activity are usually brutal and need strict and urgent medical help.
- Similar to the point as mentioned above, have thorough safety when driving as well. A car accident may cause an agonizing bite on your tongue and inner cheek.
- Be careful about how you eat. Chewing crunchy and hard food is more prone to cause you to be biting your tongue because of the sharp edges. However, unconscious chewing of even softer food items can cause painful cuts on your tongue. Attempt to take smaller bites, chew thoroughly and avoid talking when eating.
- If you have been newly diagnosed with Sleep Apnea or other similar sleep disorders, it is highly suggested that you meet with your doctor or let a sleep specialist help you.
While tongue bites heal on their own in a few days, sometimes the symptoms are alarming which require professional help. These include :
- Improper functioning of the tongue, which includes the lack of the ability to taste properly.
- The difference in the shape of the tongue
- Signs of an emerging infection
- Blockage in the airway
The healing period depends upon the severity of the bite. It is important to let a bit of tongue fully heal.
To not irritate a bit tongue, intake of the following foods shall be considered:
- Soups – make sure they are not burning hot.
- Ice cream is proven to be one of the best home remedies for any mouth-related difficulty
- Fruits and vegetables which are cooked properly and are soft
Avoid the following :
- Alcohol: it cannot be stressed enough just how much it will burn if you chug down alcohol on a cut. Imagine rubbing alcohol on a wound on your elbow – ten times worse when the wound is in your mouth!
- Eating foods that are high in spiciness and saltiness – basically junk foods.
- Citrusy foods, fruits, and juices. These are bound to sting your right at the location of your wound, ultimately worsening the redness and will cause an unbearable main momentarily.
So, there you go. To answer the question of “Why do I keep biting my tongue?” you need to understand the underlying cause and then look for the cure and treatment. Do not wait for several weeks or days, do not sleep it off, but hurry yourself up to a doctor and let them help you if the bite is serious.
An average person bites their tongue once in a while – thanks to all the distractions! But a bit tongue is no amusement – you cannot eat properly, you cannot taste properly, and your talking is compromised too, plus the risk of developing an infection.
Please do not wait to see whether the bleeding continues or terminates in a minute. The sooner you start taking care of a wound, the quicker it will heal. There are various do-able ways to stop biting your tongue.
Biting your tongue accidentally may be involuntary, but seeking medical treatment or paying attention to ways to stop biting is voluntary. So, go on and figure out through these causes to answer your “Why do I keep biting my tongue?” question.
Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.