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Cheek Biting: A Sign of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder and the Benefits of Myofunctional Therapy

MyoCorrect Cheek Biting

Cheek biting, an often overlooked habit, can be more than just an occasional accident during eating. When chronic, it may be a symptom of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD), a condition involving dysfunctional muscle patterns in the face and mouth. This article discusses the role of cheek biting as a symptom of OMD and how myofunctional therapy can provide effective treatment.

Understanding Cheek Biting in the Context of OMD

Chronic cheek biting, or Morsicatio Buccarum, is the habitual biting of the inner cheek, which can be either conscious or unconscious. It is often associated with OMDs due to the following factors:

  1. Improper Jaw Alignment: Misalignment can lead to accidental biting and over time, the development of a cheek biting habit.
  2. Oral Fixation: Similar to habits like thumb sucking or nail biting, cheek biting can be a form of oral fixation.
  3. Stress and Anxiety: It can also be a coping mechanism in response to emotional stress, leading to repetitive behavior.
  4. Abnormal Orofacial Muscle Function: Dysfunctional patterns in muscle movement can contribute to habitual cheek biting.

Impact of Chronic Cheek Biting

The continuous nature of cheek biting can have several adverse effects:

  1. Oral Health Issues: It can lead to sores, ulcers, and infections in the mouth.
  2. Pain and Discomfort: Chronic cheek biting can cause pain, especially when eating or speaking.
  3. Dental Complications: Repeated trauma can affect dental health, potentially leading to misalignment or damage to the teeth.
  4. Psychological Impact: It may lead to embarrassment or self-consciousness, especially if the habit is noticeable to others.

Myofunctional Therapy as a Treatment Approach

Myofunctional therapy provides a holistic approach to treat cheek biting associated with OMDs. The therapy focuses on correcting dysfunctional orofacial muscle patterns and improving overall muscle function. Key components include:

  1. Muscle Tone Improvement: Strengthening exercises for the jaw and facial muscles to enhance control and reduce accidental biting.
  2. Behavior Modification: Identifying triggers and developing strategies to reduce or eliminate the cheek biting habit.
  3. Stress Management Techniques: Incorporating relaxation and stress-reduction methods, as emotional factors often contribute to the habit.
  4. Jaw Alignment Correction: Exercises and techniques to improve jaw alignment and function.

Chronic cheek biting, while often dismissed as a minor issue, can be a symptom of underlying Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders. It can lead to oral health problems, discomfort, and psychological distress. Myofunctional therapy offers an effective treatment path, focusing on strengthening orofacial muscles, correcting dysfunctional patterns, and addressing behavioral aspects of the habit. Through targeted exercises and holistic intervention, individuals suffering from cheek biting can achieve improved oral health and overall well-being.