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How to stop biting tongue in sleep

Jun 12, 2023Oral health

How to stop biting tongue in sleep

If you have experienced multiple instances of tongue biting during sleep, there are several methods available to reduce the chance of recurrence. Although no preventive measure eliminates the possibility of tongue-biting occurrences entirely, these approaches may help to decrease the frequency with which it happens.

Sleep study

It is recommended that individuals who are experiencing tongue biting partake in a sleep study at a specialized lab, monitored by a certified sleep specialist. This data collected during the study will enable the doctor to identify the triggers of tongue biting and devise strategies to help prevent it.

In the majority of cases, individuals will need to spend one to two nights in a sleep facility. Over this timeframe, their body will be connected to various monitoring devices to track brainwave activity, muscle tension, eye movements, breathing rate, and heart rhythm.

Mouth guard

Mouth guards can be a beneficial tool for patients who suffer from sleep bruxism and tongue biting. These occlusal splits provide cushioning between the teeth to prevent them from grinding against one another or biting the tongue during sleep.

A custom-made mouthguard can be acquired from the dentist’s office, designed to your individual anatomical features for optimal protective advantages.

Furthermore, certain standard forms are available for purchase in a variety of stores.

If you have been diagnosed with bruxism or recurrent tongue biting, it is highly recommended that you obtain a custom-made mouthguard to protect your tongue from further injury and lessen the strain on the jaw muscles and joints of your jaw. Despite the higher cost of custom-made mouth guards compared to those available over-the-counter, they are ultimately well worth the investment.

Depending on the size and shape of your jaw, the dentist will design a customized mouthguard to ensure optimal fit and comfort. These products are usually more comfortable than their store-bought counterparts, making them the preferred choice for many.

A study conducted recently found that the greatest efficacy of mouth guards is experienced after two weeks of use. Further research involving a comparison between gabapentin, a medication often prescribed for convulsions and neuropathic pain, and occlusal splints, commonly known as mouth guards, was also conducted.

The research findings indicated a similar impact on teeth grinding, and concluded that both treatments effectively decreased the average strength of masseter muscle contractions during episodes of sleep bruxism.

Further studies have confirmed the simultaneous effect of mouth guards on both obstructive sleep apnea and tongue biting, providing a unique and beneficial solution for patients suffering from both conditions.

Mouth guards for teeth grinding, or bruxism, have been scientifically demonstrated to be beneficial for sufferers and to help prevent tongue biting.

Reduce stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety are seen to be major contributing factors of tongue biting and bruxism.

To help prevent any issues related to anxiety, it is advisable to practice various anxiolytic activities such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, listening to music, and engaging in physical exercise.

Avoid taking illicit drugs

In order to prevent tongue biting while asleep, avoiding the use of illicit drugs, such as MDMA, is essential. Research has indicated that a correlation between the amount and frequency of MDMA consumed and the likelihood of experiencing side effects exists.


If you have been diagnosed with epilepsy and are taking anti-seizure medications, it is important to speak with your doctor about the most effective way to take these drugs in order to reduce the occurrence of muscle spasms. Additionally, it is helpful to inform your physician of any episodes involving tongue biting that you may have experienced.

Some patients may continue to experience tongue biting even when taking their anti-seizure medications as directed. In these cases, it is advised to speak with a neurologist to devise an appropriate treatment plan.

Takeaway message

Tongue biting is a common issue that often occurs in conjunction with bruxism. To stop this behavior in sleep requires an approach that identifies risk factors and implements strategies to address them.


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