Managing cheek biting is difficult. Unless you’re wearing a mouth guard, it’s nearly impossible to create a barrier against it. So far, chopsticks and popsicle sticks have proven to be an okay-ish solution for me to do just that.
I nibble and bite a lot on my cheeks and the inside of my lips. If I don’t actively do something about it, I can’t stop it once I have started.
As with other BFRBs, the problem is that the more I bite, the more damage I do. Which in turn triggers the biting even more. It is a vicious cycle.
The common ways to deal with cheek biting include chewing gum or nibbling on sunflower seeds, sour candy, or whatever preoccupies the teeth and jaw. But they only do so much.
So I started looking at home for things that could be helpful additions to my BFRB toolbox.
Look badass by holding a chopstick in your mouth 😉
First, I tried toothpicks. You know, how the bad guys in the old western chewed them in the corner of their mouths. That didn’t work that well though, because toothpicks are too slim and pointy–pretty dangerous.
Chopsticks turned out to be a better alternative. I cut the chopstick down to a third, so it isn’t that heavy and easier to handle.
Then I put the pointed part between my cheek and teeth, with the rough part sticking out. That’s how I create a kind of barrier.
Or, I just hold the chopstick loosely between my lips with a loose jaw so my tongue can fidget with it.
As an alternative to chopsticks, you can also try a popsicle stick!
Benefits of this cheek biting coping method
With this coping technique, you create some sort of barrier against cheek biting. Also, holding the chopstick in your mouth will make you aware of your BFRB. Which, in turn, could help you deal with the emotional discomfort that triggers the behavior.
❗️Please be careful not to bite the chopstick as you could chip your teeth!?
If you need to get some energy out of your jaw, I recommend using a sensory chewing toy.
This toy also helps against nail-biting when you’re anxious or stressed. I’ll talk about that in more detail in another post.
I hope this tip will give your cheeks a little break so they can heal!
Fun fact about toothpicks
At one point, humans used small twigs to clean their teeth by even chewing on them. They are basically the first toothbrushes.