What causes discomfort in the inner cheeks and how to relieve it?

Symptom Database

Discomfort in the inner cheeks can be a bothersome symptom that can affect our daily lives. It can make eating, speaking, and even smiling a painful experience. Understanding the causes of this discomfort and knowing how to relieve it is essential for maintaining good oral health. In this article, we will explore the various factors that can lead to discomfort in the inner cheeks and provide effective ways to find relief.

The Anatomy of the Inner Cheeks

Before delving into the causes of discomfort, it is important to understand the anatomy of the inner cheeks. The inner cheeks, also known as the buccal mucosa, are the soft, moist lining of the oral cavity. They are composed of a thin layer of epithelial cells and are supported by underlying connective tissue. The cheek muscles, such as the buccinator muscle, play a crucial role in the function of the cheeks, aiding in chewing, swallowing, and speaking.

Causes of Discomfort in the Inner Cheeks

1. Trauma or Injury

One of the most common causes of discomfort in the inner cheeks is trauma or injury. Biting the inner cheek accidentally while eating or speaking forcefully can lead to pain and discomfort. Additionally, injuries caused by sharp objects, such as toothbrush bristles or dental instruments, can also result in discomfort.

2. Oral Infections

Oral infections, such as oral thrush or herpes simplex virus, can cause discomfort in the inner cheeks. These infections can lead to the development of sores or ulcers, which can be painful and make it difficult to eat or speak.

3. Bruxism

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a condition characterized by the clenching or grinding of teeth. This can put excessive pressure on the inner cheeks, leading to discomfort. Bruxism is often associated with stress or anxiety and can occur during sleep or while awake.

4. Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to certain foods, medications, or oral care products can cause discomfort in the inner cheeks. The buccal mucosa may become inflamed or irritated, resulting in pain and discomfort.

Relieving Discomfort in the Inner Cheeks

1. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

Proper oral hygiene is crucial for preventing and relieving discomfort in the inner cheeks. Brushing your teeth twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush, and flossing daily can help remove any irritants or debris that may be causing the discomfort. Additionally, using a mouthwash can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

2. Avoid Trigger Foods

If you suspect that certain foods are causing discomfort in your inner cheeks, try to identify and avoid them. Spicy or acidic foods, for example, can irritate the buccal mucosa and worsen the discomfort. Opt for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to promote oral health.

3. Practice Stress Management

Since stress and anxiety can contribute to bruxism, practicing stress management techniques can help alleviate discomfort in the inner cheeks. Engaging in activities such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress levels and prevent teeth grinding.

4. Use Oral Appliances

If bruxism is causing discomfort in your inner cheeks, your dentist may recommend the use of oral appliances. These devices, such as mouthguards or splints, can help protect your teeth and alleviate pressure on the buccal mucosa.

5. Seek Professional Treatment

If the discomfort in your inner cheeks persists or worsens despite home remedies, it is important to seek professional treatment. Your dentist or healthcare provider can evaluate your symptoms, identify the underlying cause, and recommend appropriate treatment options.


Discomfort in the inner cheeks can be caused by various factors, including trauma, oral infections, bruxism, and allergic reactions. Maintaining good oral hygiene, avoiding trigger foods, practicing stress management, using oral appliances, and seeking professional treatment are effective ways to relieve this discomfort. By taking proactive steps to address the underlying causes, you can restore comfort to your inner cheeks and improve your overall oral health.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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