If you've found yourself biting the inside of your cheek a lot lately when trying to eat, you might be wondering what's going on. The occasional bite is bad luck, but continually chomping into the soft tissue is an indication that something is happening in your mouth that is affecting where your teeth go when you chew. The underlying reasons can involve your jaw, the teeth themselves, and how much attention you pay to what you're doing when you eat.

Jaw Problems

Temporomandibular joint disorder often affects how your jaw opens and closes. This condition can lead to clicking and grinding in the joint, and people with TMJ commonly find that they have to move their jaws in a certain way in order to fully open their mouths. Because your jaw is constantly moving up and down when you chew, it could be that the TMJ is causing the jaw to move slightly to one side, making it easier for your teeth to catch the inside of your cheek.

Tooth Problems

Your teeth might have become misaligned slightly, and now your molars are closer to your cheek than before. Adult teeth can still move around a bit -- this is why you end up with retainers after you have braces removed. The movement is very slow, but once a tooth moves past a certain point and starts hitting your cheek, it can seem like the change was sudden.

Tooth movement can also be due to bone loss in the jaw, which is not a normal condition and one that needs to be checked out by a dentist immediately. Bone loss can be the result of clenching and grinding your teeth, and it can be an indication of gum disease.

If you have dentures or bridges on the same side of your mouth as the constantly bitten cheek, those could be in need of some adjusting. You should also have your teeth checked out to ensure that they haven't moved and caused the dentures or bridge to bump into your cheek.

Attention Problems

It's possible that nothing is wrong with your jaw or teeth -- but you're just not paying attention to what you're doing and are absentmindedly chowing down on cheek tissue. If you eat fast and try to take large bites, you could just be catching your cheek as you try to stuff all that food into the side of your mouth when you chew.

For attention problems, try to slow down and take smaller bites. Pay close attention to everything you do as you eat. For the other issues, though, see a dentist as soon as possible. Whether you need new dentures, braces, or TMJ or gum disease treatment, a dentist is the person to see if you want those conditions to get better. Your cheeks will thank you for that because continued biting can lead to infection.

For more information, contact Grover Dental Centre Dentists or a similar organization.