What Is Oral Fixation? (Signs, Risks & Remedies to Follow)

Do you constantly find yourself biting your nails or chewing gum? Or perhaps you have the constant oral craving to have a cig in your mouth.

These habits might be more than just quirks — they could be manifestations of oral fixation deeply rooted in your early childhood.

While there are signs of inappropriate oral behavior to clue you in about the condition, oral fixation can also manifest in your personality over time if left unchecked.

Though oral fixation has some associated risks, you can adopt a few behavioral changes to help resolve it (including using safer alternatives like nicotine-free vapes.)

Let’s dive in to know more!

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What Is Oral Fixation? (Cause + Signs)

Oral fixation is an obsessive and compulsive behavior connected to the oral cavity (mouth). It manifests as a constant need to bite, chew, or suck something.

The relentless desire to keep the mouth engaged is a means to self-soothe and release nervous energy through sensory input.

What Causes Oral Fixations?

Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist, developed the theory of psychosexual development. It refers to the five stages of ‘human development’ that infants go through. During each stage, the child seeks pleasure through different erogenous zones.

Why is this important?

During the first stage of psychosexual development — the oral stage — an infant's oral fixation usually becomes the outlet for pleasure seeking energies. This is typically formed from a newborn’s natural desire for oral exploration, such as teething, thumb sucking, and tasting new things.

But the thing is, while the oral phase of exploration in early childhood is normal, specific conflicts during this fragile time could manifest as oral fixation in older children and adults.

What conflicts? - you might ask.

These can include:

  • The untimely weening away from breastfeeding (or bottle-feeding)
  • The neglect or over-indulgence of feeding needs (unmet oral needs or oral sensory overload)

This ties deeper into our understanding of psychoanalytic theory, where our childhood experiences shape the foundation of our behaviors and personalities as adults.

Next, let’s look at the signs when dealing with oral fixation.

7 Oral Fixation Signs in Adults to Watch Out For

Here are seven key signs that indicate you may be battling maladaptive oral fixation (obsessive, unhealthy oral behavior):

  • Constant oral craving to chew gum, candy, ice, or toothpicks: Chewing gum, candy, and other edible objects regularly or holding a toothpick between the teeth for prolonged periods is a sign of oral fixation.

  • Smoking cigarettes: A form of maladaptive oral fixation - smoking cigarettes satiates the need for oral stimulus and indicates oral fixation.

  • Alcohol abuse: Sigmund Freud proposed that those needing constant oral stimulation were likelier to drink and risk alcoholism.

  • Overeating: Another form of maladaptive oral fixation, eating keeps the mouth active, and overindulging in food is a sign of oral fixations.

  • Thumb sucking: If a child has unmet feeding needs, they may start sucking their thumb to satisfy their suckling urges. Sometimes, this oral behavior can proceed into adulthood.

  • Lip or nail biting lips or nails: Nail biting, or biting lips, stimulates the mouth and indicates oral fixation.

  • Pica: Pica is the act of chewing on non-edible objects. While it may start as an eating disorder or stress relief habit, it can develop into an oral fixation.

You should be aware of the potential risks of the condition, too.

8 Health Risks Associated with Oral Fixation

Here are the likely dangers that stem from oral fixations:

  • Periodontal issues: Grinding teeth to satisfy oral fixation needs can damage your periodontal ligament.

  • Cavities: Overeating sweet foods or indulging in candy too often can cause tooth decay.

  • Gum recession: Those struggling with oral fixation and chewing on inedible objects put a strain on their gums, leading to their recession.

  • Bone loss: If gum recession resulting from oral fixation continues too long, it eventually leads to bone loss.

  • TMJ disorders: Persistent movement of the oral cavity can compromise your jaw joint and its associated muscles, leading to headaches and pain in the jaw, both symptoms of TMD (temporomandibular joint disorders).

  • Oral cancer: Smoking that results from oral fixation increases the risk of oral cancer. Besides, periodontal issues caused by smoking can also lead to oral cancer.

  • Nicotine-related health risks: Nicotine is a toxin and addictive chemical found in tobacco. Smoking too much increases the risk of nicotine poisoning and health issues like cardiovascular and lung disease.

  • Alcohol-related health risks: Drinking too much due to oral fixation can result in several severe health issues, including pancreatitis, arrhythmias, liver disease, stroke, and a weakened immune system.

Given the potential dangers associated with oral fixation, it’s crucial to know of ways to remedy your condition and help manage it better.

3 Ways to Resolve Oral Fixation

While there are multiple ways to handle oral fixation, these three are the easiest ones to adopt:

1. Safer Oral Stimulation Alternatives for Adults

If your chosen oral stimulation fix is an addiction like smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, you are at risk of several severe and chronic health conditions. Instead, you can manage your urges by redirecting your oral fixation toward safer alternatives. Some of these include:

A. Nicotine-Free Vapes
If you’re a chain smoker struggling with oral fixation, perhaps it’s time to switch to vaping and nicotine-free vapes.

But where do you find such vapes?
At Cyclone Pods, of course!

Cyclone Pods is a US-based vape company that specializes in high-quality vapes, free from toxic and harmful substances like:
  • Nicotine
  • Vitamin E acetate
  • Formaldehyde
  • Diacetyl

What’s even better?
Nicotine-free vapes are the perfect way to get started with the vaping experience and an effective alternative to quitting cigarettes and other nicotine products.

While nicotine-free Cyclone Pods won’t help you overcome oral fixation, they can be great choices to manage your condition without worrying about ruining your health.

Ready to make a positive impact on your health?
Check out Cyclone Pods' Surge Collection — an eco-friendly pod vape with a rechargeable battery, providing over 6000 puffs! Check out the delicious range, including Strawberry, Mint, Blue Razz Ice, and Watermelon Raspberry.

Or, if you prefer disposable vapes, Gust Super is a great place to kickstart your nicotine-free journey! It’s a rechargeable vaping device delivering over 5000 puffs.

The best part?
You can pair your device with any of the 13 mouth-watering Surge Pod flavors, including Mint, Menthol, Watermelon, Strawberry Banana, and Mango.

B. Chewing on hard candy or lozenge, vegetable sticks, toothpicks.
Another harmless way to manage your need for oral sensory input is to chew on a lozenge or hard candy. You can also munch on vegetable sticks like celery to beat your smoking addiction.

C. Drinking water.
Staying hydrated keeps your lips and mouth moist and occupied, which can be a healthy substitute for cigarette smoking or other harmful methods of stimulation.

2. Psychotherapeutic Approaches

Several psychotherapeutic approaches can help resolve oral fixation to a certain extent, including:

  • Talk Therapy: Talk therapy is a form of psychoanalytic therapy based on Freudian psychology. It involves counseling and self-help sessions to identify and address the root cause of your oral fixation.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of talk therapy focusing on how your thoughts, belief system, and attitudes impact your behavior and feelings.

    When dealing with oral fixation, CBT can help talk about attitudes and behavioral patterns that need to be changed — even those adopted during the first psychosexual stage of development.

  • Hypnotherapy: Unlike Freudian talk therapy, hypnotherapy works on the subconscious and unconscious mind and can help change mind patterns. Based on your personal information, a hypnotherapist can make suggestions to help you wean off the oral fixation habit.

3. Meditation and Calming Exercises

Often, oral fixation is a way to cope with anxiety. A non-intrusive way to handle such fixation is through exercise and meditation. Breathing exercises can calm your anxious thoughts and resolve the constant need for oral stimuli.

Still have questions?

Let’s answer them as well.

3 FAQs About Oral Fixation

Here are answers to other common questions you might have regarding oral fixation:

1. How Can Oral Fixation Manifest in Your Personality?

Oral fixation can manifest as personality traits in a variety of ways:

  • Oral-aggressive personality: This personality type originates from obsessive and compulsive focus and can result in the person being violent, hostile, verbally abusive, and exploitative.

  • Oral-receptive personality: The traits of an oral-receptive personality include being passive and overly sensitive and can often result in drinking, smoking, eating, and other forms of oral fixation.

  • Oral sadistic: Oral sadism involves using the mouth, teeth, and lips to satisfy violent urges.

  • Oral dependent: This personality type relies on persistent oral stimulation to satisfy their unmet oral needs as infants and can manifest as smoking, overeating, drinking, and talking too much.

2. Is Oral Fixation Associated With Autism?

People with autism often have to deal with sensory processing disorders, which can result in persistent chewing habits and other forms of oral fixation. In this case, oral fixation manifests at birth and doesn’t stem from conflicts during the oral stage of development.

3. Is Oral Fixation Linked to ADHD?

Children and teens with ADHD show signs of oral fixation as stimming (repetitive chewing behavior) to stimulate their mouth. The condition can be managed through therapy without developing into a negative oral behavior like smoking or alcoholism in adulthood.

Try Safer Oral Stimulation Alternatives like Nicotine-Free Vapes

While an oral habit like smoking can be challenging to give up completely, you can adopt one of the different ways to remedy your situation and make it manageable.

If you’re open to vaping, you can try nicotine-free vapes for some guilt-free oral stimulation.

To understand how a nicotine-free vaping product can help you manage your unhealthy oral fixation habit, explore Cyclone Pods. We offer a variety of high-quality nicotine-free vapes in several mouth-watering flavors to help you manage your fixation using healthier alternatives.

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