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A 21-year-old female asked:

What causes biting tongue in sleep. i wake up with bite marks on both sides of tongue. how can i prevent this? i am sleeping/unaware when i do this.

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ruchir Patel
Sleep Medicine 14 years experience
Seizure?: Without actually examining your tongue it is difficult to say exactly the source but the most worrisome cause would be potential nocturnal seizures. The least worrisome would be scalloping of the sides of the tongue where it appears there are indentations of the back sides of the teeth indicating a large tongue.
Dr. Scott Bobbitt
Dentistry 32 years experience
REM Sleep Cycle: In deeper stages of sleep, the muscles of the eyes (rem) are active, as well as the muscles of mastication. That's why some people clench and/or grind their teeth at night. If you are an "active" bruxer, you can "nip" the sides of the tongue. Once swollen from the injury, it is easier to bite again. Be careful. Talk to your dentist about a night guard or Elavil (amitriptyline) 10mg to decrease bruxing in dreams.

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Last updated Apr 8, 2018

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