Do you have a bad habit of biting lips? If yes, and you are on the mission to stop this, then you are at the right place. Many people bite their lips when they are nervous or anxious. Nevertheless, some people develop the habit of biting lips every time. Biting your lip occasionally is not an issue; however, in some cases, many people are unable to control biting lips and it becomes body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB).
Lip biting is a habit that is difficult to break and can lead to redness almond painful sores on the lips. Sometimes individuals become so used to biting lips that they might not notice the habit until there is damage to the lips. Below mentioned is all you need to know about how to stop biting your lips.
Symptoms of Lip Biting
Some people might not face any side effects of lip biting; however, others might face certain complications like:
- Lip redness
- Swollen lips
- Painful sores in lips
Lip biting often becomes a compulsive behaviour, many times individuals are not even aware of this habit until they damage their lips.
Causes of Lip Biting
There could be varied causes of lip biting. In some cases, physical conditions can lead individuals to bite lips when they are chewing or talking. In other cases, lip biting can also be due to psychological causes, For instance, many people bite lips in order to respond to different emotional states like anxiety, fear, or anxiety. Here are some common causes of lip biting.
Below mentioned are some physical reasons for biting lips.
- Temporomandibular Disorder – This condition causes dysfunction and pain in your Temporomandibular joint. This joint is responsible for connecting the lower jaw to the skull and leads people to accidentally bite their lip.
- Teeth Alignment Issues – It is also known as malocclusion. In this condition an individual underbite and overbite due to inappropriate alignment of teeth. This condition can make you bite your lip.
Lip biting can also be caused due to body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB). This psychological reason refers to any repetitive behaviour that is self directed and leads to damaging the skin, nails, or hairs.
BFRBs occur as a result of coping mechanisms in condition when a person feels anxious or uncomfortable. People having the issue of BFRB feel that repetitive behaviors help them feel relieved from painful emotions. Below mentioned are some common BFRB.
- Skin-picking or excoriation
- Nail-biting or onychophagia
- Hair-pulling or trichotillomania
- Chronic tongue chewing
- Eating of hair or trichophagia
Treatment of Lip Biting
Lip biting treatments differ on the basis of cause. By resolving the underlying causes, you can treat the physical reasons like dental issues. If there is a psychological cause of lip biting, then the treatments include behavioral therapies or counseling.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT can prove beneficial for people with BFRBs. It can be an effective treatment to get rid of the lip biting habit. It is a step by step approach that includes focusing on changing specific behaviors by the means of identifying their causes. It also includes teaching skills that can help people in changing their thoughts and behaviors going forward. It is an effective treatment for treating the habit of lip biting.
Habit Reversal Training (HRT)
It is a type of CBT and is highly beneficial to treat BFRBs and tics. Three primary steps are included in HRT.
- First step includes doing awareness training in order to make people notice their habit
- Second step includes developing a competing response. It is a different action that individuals can do when they feel like biting their lips.
- Third step involves rendering social support, which is essential for helping people in overcoming anxious habits.
HRT is highly beneficial to treat BFRBs and is an effective treatment to get rid of the habit of biting lips.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT is another effective treatment for treating BFRBs. It can be used to treat the habit of lib biting. People who bite lips as a result of BFRB might need help in regulating emotions like anxiety. This therapy is beneficial to treat the causes of body-focused behaviors. In order to treat BFRBs, the therapy includes four aspects.
- Tolerance of distress
- Emotional regulation
- Interpersonal effectiveness
Other therapie such as Comprehensive Model of Treatment (ComB) and Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) can also be used to treat BFRBs. These therapies are new and more research is required to confirm the effectiveness of these therapies.
There are no specific medications for treating the causes of BFRBs. It is better to opt for HRT or CBT therapy in order to get rid of the habit of lip biting. Medication can be beneficial for people who are involved in BFRBs and are also suffering from the issues of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, or anxiety.
Methods to Prevent Lip Biting
Lip biting can be associated with anxiety, stress and even boredom. Many people also bite lips due to flakiness and rough texture. If lip biting is done repeatedly, then it can cause injury to the lip tissues and can also cause short term issues such as infection, ulcer, pain. The long term implications include scarring and even increase in the risk of oral cancer in some cases. Here are some tips to prevent biting your lips.
Identify the Cause
The best way to handle the issue of lip biting is identifying the cause. If you find that you bite your lips when you are anxious or worried then you should find something else to chew. For instance, you can opt for a chewing sugar-free gym. It is always a good idea to distract yourself from biting your lips.
Reduce the Stress Levels
If you find that stress is the cause of biting lips, then you should find ways to reduce the levels of stress. You can opt for meditation and exercise for the purpose of reducing stress levels. Yoga and meditations are one of the best ways to relieve stress and control emotions. Meditation can not only help you in reducing stress, but can also help in emotion regulation, which in turn can help you in getting rid of the habit of biting lips due to increased stress levels.
Exfoliate Your Lip
If you do not exfoliate your lips, then you should do it. Exfoliating lips on a regular basis can help in getting rid of the rough texture and flakiness. Use gentle formulas for lips as they are gentle areas. All you need to do is mix a gentle formula with water to create a creamy paste, apply it on your lips and then rinse. It helps in gently sloughing away the flakiness. Removing the flakiness can help in reducing the habit of biting lips.
Your Lips also Need Cleaning
Cleaning lips is as important as cleaning the face. It helps in removing any build-up of grime and pollutants from the day. It is also beneficial for removing glosses and lipstick. Keeping your lips clean is an effective way to get rid of rough texture and flakiness, which in turn can help to avoid biting your lips.
Keep Lips Moisturised
Keeping lips moisturised is an effective way to avoid biting your lips due to flakiness. Our lips get very little natural moisture, so it is essential to keep them hydrated. Make sure to moisturize your lips by applying lip balm containing emollients such as avocado oil, vitamin E, and hydrators such as hyaluronic acid. You should avoid petroleum-based lip balms like vaseline as they can limit the production of natural barrier protection in lips.
Follow Proper Night Routine for Lip Care
You should adopt the habit of following proper snittime skin care routine that includes applying lip balm on the lips before sleeping. APplying lip balms help in healing the lip skin, which in turn is beneficial to remove flaky skin and rough texture from the lips. Appy lip balms on the lips before going to bed and you will wake up with plumper and softer lips. It will help to avoid biting lips to remove flaky skin.
Wear Bold Lipstick
Women often face the issue of biting lips due to stress or anxiety. You can try wearing bold lipsticks to avoid biting lips. You know that it will mess your lipstick if you bite your lips again and again so it can help you to avoid biting lips. Keep in mind not to use a balm or gloss with a good taste, as it can lead you to biting lips.
It is essential to understand the underlying cause of biting lip in order to choose an appropriate treatment plan. If lip biting is causing issues and making you feel uncomfortable then it is better to seek professional help. If it is due to psychological issues then it is better to visit a psychologist. If it is due to dental issues then it is a good idea to visit a dentist. There is a wide range of options that can help you to get rid of the habit and live a healthy life.