A person chronically bites their tongue because it is a nervous habit, says Thomas P. Connelly, D.D.S. on Huffington Post. The Dentistry iQ Network goes on to say that this nervous habit is often caused by stress, such as starting a new semester at school or planning a wedding.
Although tongue chewing is a fairly common habit in the majority of the population, it is one that needs to be broken, Dentistry IQ Network states. It damages the tissue of the tongue and results in hyperkeratosis, which is an abnormal thickening of skin. Along with thickening, the part of the tongue being chewed on also pales and turns white. This leads to ulceration and sores on the tongue and, in severe cases, results in carcinoma.
According to Dentistry IQ Network, there are techniques to help people break the habit of tongue chewing. The first step is for the person to realize when he or she is doing it: during the night or during the day. Wearing a mouth guard protects the tissues of the mouth from trauma caused by teeth and is especially effective during the night when tongue chewing occurs subconsciously. Another technique to deal with chronic tongue chewing is to attack the root of the problem, which is often stress, and replace it with a new, less harmful coping strategy.