Why Do People Chew Their Tongue?
Chewing on the tongue, which is commonly referred to as tongue chewing, is an action that many people do without knowing the meaning behind it. Chewing on the tongue can be a sign of anxiety, stress, or even boredom, but it can also be a symptom of certain neurological and psychological disorders. Below are some of the potential causes of tongue chewing:
- Stress: Chewing on the tongue could be a way for some people to relieve tension or anxiety.
- Boredom: Chewing on the tongue can be a way to occupy oneself when feeling bored or lacking stimulation.
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD): Tongue chewing is sometimes seen as a way to regulate sensory inputs and to reduce distress.
- Tic disorders: Chewing on the tongue can be a sign of a tic disorder, like Tourette Syndrome.
- Drugs or medications: Some drugs or medications can cause tongue chewing as a side effect.
- Epilepsy: Chewing on the tongue may occur in people with epilepsy, during a seizure.
Though it may sometimes just be a reflex or a symptom of boredom, tongue chewing can also be a sign of an underlying condition that needs to be addressed by a doctor. Seeking medical advice if you find yourself repeatedly chewing on your tongue is highly recommended.
2. Is tongue chewing linked to any health risks or effects?
Yes, tongue chewing can potentially have negative health effects. In some cases, it can cause damage to the lining of the mouth or to the tongue itself. It can also cause issues with proper nutrition, as the person may be unable to chew food properly and may traverse chunks of food. Additionally, tongue chewing can lead to excessive salivation, which can be a sign of an underlying medical problem.
1. What are some of the most common reasons behind people chewing their tongue?
The most common reasons behind people chewing their tongue are anxiety, tension, stress, boredom, and distraction. Other possible causes include certain medical conditions, such as Tourette’s syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, dental problems, or a reaction to certain medications.
3. Could a habit of chewing one’s tongue be symptomatic of an underlying psychological disorder?
Yes, chewing one’s tongue can be symptomatic of several psychological disorders, including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and Tourette Syndrome. If a person is exhibiting this behavior, it is important to seek professional help to determine the underlying cause.
4. Are there any treatments or therapies available to help someone stop tongue chewing?
Yes, there are various treatments and therapies available to help someone stop tongue chewing. Some of the most common treatments and therapies include cognitive-behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, positive reinforcement measures, mindfulness training, and biofeedback. Additionally, products such as tongue restraints, mouth guards, and chewable jewelry have been developed to help inhibit tongue chewing. Each of these treatments and therapies aim to change an individual’s behavior and ultimately discourage them from tongue chewing.