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Lip Biting

Some people have this lip biting habit and believe it or not, they don’t even realize they are doing it. Some people bite lip on a purpose because they feel like they are sexy when they are biting their lips. Well, it isn’t a bad habit at all provided it will not lead to self-destruction. Biting the lips too hard, especially habitually can actually lead to bleeding.

If the habit of biting the lips gets out of control, then it could be an indication that a person is suffering from a condition called BFRB or body-focused repetitive behavior. It is not included in the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, but it does belong to other specified obsessive-compulsive related disorders.

Just because you are biting your lips does not mean you have BFRB. It only falls under such category if your behavior causes self-destruction, distresses others, and/or interferes with your ability to function normally. (1, 2, 3, 4)

Lip biting is a sexy thing but not until it causes self-destruction image photo picture


Image 1: Lip biting is a sexy thing but not until it causes self-destruction.
Picture Source: www.hypnosisdownloads.com

Swelling and bleeding of the lips secondary to severe and chronic biting image photo picture

Picture 2: Swelling and bleeding of the lips secondary to severe and chronic biting.
Photo Source: img.memecdn.com

Why do people bite their lips?

The cause of lip biting is vast. In fact, you could hardly pinpoint the exact cause. However, it is linked with stress and anxiety. There are a few biological predispositions too such as the person’s age, gender, temperament, and environment. Research showed that lip biting is common in people ages 11 to 15. It is also more common in women than men. (4, 5)

Dental conditions can also be the reasons why some people tend to bite their lips. Some of these dental conditions include the following:

  • Misaligned bite
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (4, 5)

How to stop biting lips?

Treating the lip biting habit is all about making the person realize that he/she is unconsciously doing it. It is quite difficult to address this issue because it is not a disease but a problem itself. Lip biting that causes self-destruction is treated using a variety of treatment modalities such as counseling, relaxation techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis, replacement behavior, and addressing any dental issues such as removal of the protruded tooth, wearing braces, jaw exercises, and surgery when deemed necessary. (5, 6, 7)

Are there any complications?

  • Severe redness of the lips
  • Inflammation
  • The lips are swollen and sore
  • The lips peel because of dryness
  • Scarring because of chronic biting of the lips (6, 7)

Dental problems can lead to lip biting behavior image picture photo

Photo 3: Dental problems can lead to lip biting behavior.
Image Source: tonguethrust.com

A severely swollen lip due to excessive biting image photo picture

Image 4: A severely swollen lip due to excessive biting.
Picture Source: knowfacts.org

What can you do to prevent lip biting?

There are different practices that can help prevent lip biting. These include:

  • Deep breathing/diaphragmatic breathing – It is a relaxation technique many people use to control their breathing and to relieve stress. If you are under a great deal of stress, you have to take a deep breath rather than resort to biting your lips. Take a slow and controlled breath, breath in through your tummy. It is a simple technique but it does really work.
  • Muscle Relaxation – A deep breathing exercise combined with progressive muscle relaxation technique can help a lot in preventing lip biting and other forms of BFRB. To do this technique, you need to tense your muscle one at a time to drain the muscles of energy. Doing so will prevent anxiety as your muscles no longer have the strength to cause anxiety symptoms. Doing this on a regular basis will make you feel more relax and comfortable.
  • Competing Response – It is a behavior that enables you to completely eliminate the habit of biting your lips. Instead of biting your lips, you could resort to a healthier option such as touching your lips with your fingers. This stops your urgencies to bite your lips.
  • Mindfulness – You need to be mindful or cautious of your actions. Pay attention to what you are doing. Many people are unaware that they are actually biting their lips until such time they feel pain in their lips. There are even instances when the lips bruised and wounded. If you develop the state of mindfulness, then you will be conscious of your action, especially if other people notice your lip biting habit. (7, 8, 9, 10)

What to keep in mind?

Lip biting and other BFRB has the tendency to recur. Therefore, it is important to be wary of the symptoms and if you feel like your lip biting habit starts to recur, then you need to use the strategies mentioned above. Choose the one that you think works best for you.
Biting the lips is not actually a problem until such time that it causes discomfort and stress not only to you but to other people too. If lip biting becomes harmful to your health and well-being, then you definitely need help. Do not be afraid to consult your doctor. Help is always available and there are health care professionals out there who are more than willing to help you.

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/lip-biting
  2. https://www.bustle.com/articles/98188-7-ways-to-stop-biting-your-lips-because-its-not-a-good-habit
  3. https://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/symptoms/lip-biting
  4. http://www.uncommonhelp.me/articles/how-to-stop-lip-biting/
  5. http://texaspediatricdentistry.com/lip-biting-after-treatment/
  6. https://healthosphere.com/lip-biting-symptoms-causes-treatment/
  7. https://www.drwinans.com/2017/02/bite-lip-time/
  8. https://www.everydayhealth.com/dental-health-specialist/chewing-on-lower-lip.aspx
  9. https://www.lovepanky.com/flirting-flings/get-flirty/lip-biting
  10. https://www.smlglobal.com/help-your-patients-break-lip-biting-habit

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