Bad Habit: Confessions of a Jaw Chewer

I have this really bad habit that I can’t seem to kick. I sometimes bite the skin on the inside of my mouth, usually my jaws. These biting sessions occur when I am ruminating about some issue or problem or when I am trying to think or collect my thoughts. This habit annoys the hades out of my husband. Why? How can I explain this? After I bite the piece of skin, I put it between one top and bottom front tooth. My molars won’t do because the bits of skin are so small that they would get lost on a molar. I then proceed to chomp on the bit of skin. The only indication of this chomping is the faint clicking sound it makes. This clicking and tactile sensation of the skin against my teeth is the biggest appeal of this addiction. Usually I think he cannot hear me, but most times he does. He will give me a look or say with frustration, “Stop Myesha!”Anyone observing me would not know I am chomping but for this clicking sound which is pretty loud if you are sitting in a relatively close proximity as Larry is wont to do.

Before the chomping comes the weird contortions of my jaw and lips which make the skin more accessible to my teeth. Try this: 1) Pucker your lips as if you are about to kiss someone 2) Using your jaw muscles, make your lips go to one side or the other as far as you can. 3) Use your front teeth to gently bite on the inside of your jaws. This is the rookie version. There are several variations to this method that yields copious amounts of skin. My fingers sometimes play a major role but only when I am alone. I will use my thumb to push my jaw into my teeth. I am ashamed of what I am about to reveal: Sometimes, I put my finger in my mouth and scrape the skin with my fingernail to get a heaping of skin.

At times, I go overboard and my mouth is really raw on the inside. When this happens, I give it a rest and promise my husband that I will quit. I am an expert and rarely draw blood. I try to hide this from my daughter who already has a nasty habit of biting her fingernails. How can I preach to her about her habit when I can’t seem to kick my own! 😦  I try not to contort my jaws when she is around since she loves to emulate me.

Can anyone out there help me? I seek the comfort and peace of unmolested inner jaws.

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