When Teeth Attack Tongues at Twilight: How to Stop Biting Your Tongue Whilst Sleeping
Night time tongue biting is both painful and frustrating. Ulcers (canker sores) are frequently the result of nocturnal tongue biting as wounds become infected, making eating and speaking difficult. What's worse is that there is no way of knowing whether you'll bite the exact same spot the following night, and no way of preventing it from happening.
So, what's causing you to attack your own tongue at night? While tongue biting is also associated with a rhythmic movement disorder, which is common in children, and night time seizures during which the sufferer is unconscious, this article does not cover those cases. If you find yourself jerking awake at night just as you bite down on your tongue, your problem is something else altogether:
You May be a Nocturnal Grinder
Although nocturnal grinding (bruxism) refers to the grinding of teeth, sometimes a person's tongue gets in the way. If you have a large tongue, then this could very well be the case. Does your jaw ache in the morning? Do your teeth chip out of the blue?
If yes, you may be grinding your teeth at night—and sometimes catching your tongue in the process.
Stress also Leads to Tongue Biting
Bruxism is usually caused by an uneven bite—or stress. If your tongue biting is a recent occurrence, you could be experiencing a little more stress than usual. Stress causes you to grind your teeth at night.
Sleep Apnea Could be the Cause
If you suffer from sleep apnea, and many people are unaware that they do, then this may also be the cause of your tongue biting. When sleeping, sufferers of this condition experience frequent pauses in their breathing cycle, leading to snoring, abrupt bouts of snorting, and tongue biting.
Whilst asleep, the soft tissues at the back of the throat, including the tongue, relax and fall back to block the airway. This can cause the sufferer to jerk in their sleep as the body attempts to correct the situation. The tongue can sometimes slip between teeth on the favoured side, and cause a painful bite.
Your Dentist Can Provide You with a Mouth Guard
Visit your dentist and request a mouthguard if you find that tongue biting is a regular issue for you. Sports mouthguards can be custom made to fit your specific bite and to suit your unique situation. However, the underlying cause should also be dealt with. Visit your dentist and your doctor to determine what is causing you to bite your tongue.
Your mouthguard can protect your tongue as you sleep. However, you shouldn't stop at prevention. Tongue biting is a symptom of a more serious condition. Seek to determine what that condition is so that you and your dentist or doctor can decide upon a course of treatment.