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Dermatillomania (skin picking disorder)

sonia , 09 Nov 2009

picking at gums

so for the past few months i've had a really strong urge to pick at my gums. i just started doing it one day... and now i can't stop! i stick needles or wires into my gums and then i floss my gums real hard until they start to bleed. and it feels really good.. i'm afraid i won't be able to stop and then my gums will be ugly and start to receed. i've gotten used to having ugly looking hands.. i don't want to have ugly gums aswell! and i also have really wierd urges to pull out my teeth and cut my teeth out, i don't know why all this is happening! anyway, does anyone else do this, is it detrimental to your gums? thanks!
43 Answers
The worst picker
June 16, 2013
I have picked my gums for 33 years and can not stop. It started with string filing between my teeth. I would use the string to scrape the gums till the gums between were scraped out. Over the 33 years it has evolved. I now form a loop with string and file it between the teeth and loop it around the gums and yank the gums out. I will scrape the gums with anything sharp to make them bleed. I will use surgical blades to cut the gum and push finger nail into incision with the loop of the string sliding into the gum and ripping the gum between the teeth out. Ill use pens to scrape gums and push the gums up so I can rip more of the gums out. They bleed. I don't know why I do this. I can't stop. I love the burn of tooth paste on the gums but I go farther then anyone else does. I scrape gum till bleed the I use a water pic to soften the gum up. Then I rinse with listerine vinegar and baking soda and brush. I then brush with rubbing alcohol and then peroxide which makes the gums white. I then cut them or press my nail into the gums till there's a deep mark and then press nail in and slide loop ove fingered and between teeth and rip the gums out between the teeth. Then I rebrush with everything again I don't understand why I started at night laying in bed when I was younger and can't stop. I have never told anyone this. I am a freak. I' don't know what to do
January 29, 2014

In reply to by The worst picker

out of all the comments, i relate to this the most. idk how to feel because i do exactly the same thing!!! im 18 now and been doing the string method to pull or kinda shave off the gum between my teeth since i was 7! i only use toothpaste and i brush in a circular motion so some of the bristles poke my gums. but the loop with the string is on point!! and i cant stop! what i learned to do when was 10 was suck out all the air between my gums using my tongue untill it was air tight and i slowly move my tongue up and when i let go it makes this amazing snap/popping noise. its gotten to the point when i just rip the gum out just to do that. i used to make insertions with my name from the front and back to intensify it even more. @the worst picker thank you so soo much you dont know how i feel to hear someone who doe the same thing and same method. if you can please email me @ again thanks soo much.
June 17, 2013
I pick the back of my two gums. Bottom row, back of my canines. I use my fingernail to pick it. It feels really good. sometimes I wait for it to heal up. And I start all over again, to get the full experience. I want to stop. I told my mom. But she thinks that its easy to stop. But its really addictive. URGHH.
September 25, 2013
I can't believe how many people are in the same situation as me. I too have been picking at my gums for years. I do the front, back, top and bottom of my gums until my mouth just feels numb, but it feels so good. I keep my nails short, but because I always feel like I have to have a 'tool' available, I allow my pointer finger nails to stay significantly longer. I tend to do a huge 'session' once or twice every week and then allow it to heal before starting it all over again. Usually during the waiting time, I pick underneath my finger nails. I only gently push under the nails with the corner of a piece of paper or something similar until a painful, yet enjoyable pressure builds. I wish there was a way to describe how something so painful feels so good. I'm 23 now, and have started to become very self aware when I do these things, often feeling embarrassed or guilty when others are around when I get an urge. Luckily, my nail habit can be done anywhere without anyone noticing. I just wish there was an answer for all of this.
December 05, 2013
I am so happy to see that I am not alone in hurting my gums w/let's say, a wood toothpick. I will put it between my teeth, and screw it into my gums until i can't take anymore. I thought that i was the only weirdo doing this-thank you for letting me know i'm not alone~ I feel so much better now, but wish that dentist's have a name for this, and a way to keep me from hurting myself instead of me picking my gums/teeth until they're bloody and then use ambicol to relieve the pain for the night. I imagine ppl. who cut themselves are somewhere near how we all feel...i'm not sure...
January 15, 2014
When I was younger I would have a desire to pick my gums. I knew even at a very young age that it was a problem. I would pick them, scrape them, dig in name it. I would sit there for hours just picking my gums. I remember looking in the mirror and seeing how badly they looked (I'm sure you all know what I am talking about). I made a resolution at a young age that I would never pick my gums again. Sure, immediately after I would so to speak “relapse” but I am now 22 years old and I cannot remember the last time I’ve picked my gums. Every once in a while I may have the urge but I simply ignore it. I have come to understand that this can be linked to a personality disorder. Despite the fact that I haven't picked my gums in years, I have seen other personality traits in myself that point towards a disorder of some sort. As someone who has gone through the same thing and knows the difficulties first hand I encourage you all to look deeper into this issue, it could change your life.
March 12, 2014
I'm 23 and I can't believe there are ppl who pick there gums I have been doing this for years. But recent I notice my gums are disappearing. I only pick two teeth one one each side l the third teeth on each side to be exact! I pick them until they bleed I love the feeling the pain it feels good. I also pick my lips I have done Both of these two horrible habits since a child I'm actually picking my teeth now!!!! Someone ppl help it's getting worst I now pick my teeth and I don't always notice it has happen in front of people :-( help!!!!!
April 01, 2014
Im almost 22 and the earliest time of picking I can remember is at 5 years old. I take nails mostly ir a sharp object and I like to peel it and my lips. The worst part of it is how high my gums are because ive picked fir all these years. I do get pleasure and very relaxed. ..I just want to stop really because its nasty and it gets pointed out. .my five year old imitates ne all the time
July 30, 2014
Ever since I can remember I've been picking my gums with sharp pins toothpicks mostly my nails and even pencils if I really get desperate. I am 23 now and haven't seen any long term damage yet some soreness and redness will last for a few days I'll stop wait for it to heal up even forget about picking them even after a few months of being healed but every now and then I'll have an urge to pick at them. I can't believe that there are people like me that do this. Does any one know if this could do permanent damage to my gums and teeth and if I need to how can I stop?
July 30, 2014
Ever since I can remember I've been picking my gums with sharp pins toothpicks mostly my nails and even pencils if I really get desperate. I am 23 now and haven't seen any long term damage yet some soreness and redness will last for a few days I'll stop wait for it to heal up even forget about picking them even after a few months of being healed but every now and then I'll have an urge to pick at them. I can't believe that there are people like me that do this does any one know if this could do permanent damage to my gums and teeth and if I need to how can I stop?
September 04, 2014
Almost life-long gum picker here. Thank God I've been able to keep this awful habit more-or-less in check over the past couple years or so!! To my distress, I've seen some individuals in this thread discussing 'magically removing the gums and then putting them back in place'. What you describe is referred to as a 'gingivectomy'; and I can only imagine the agony of actually experiencing one. Take a look (starting from upper-left corner); Looking at pictures like this helps me never want to pick again, and they positively send chills up my spine to boot. Maybe that will help some of my fellow long-time compulsive pickers that have trouble kicking this habit. Peace...
November 24, 2014

I picked my gums when I was a very little girl probably 4-8 I stopped when I was adopted at the age of 9. I'm 13 now and for some reason about 3 weeks ago I got the urge to try it again and now I can't stop picking at my gums I don't know if it's because of my anxiety or something else

June 27, 2015

I've been having the ugre to pick my gums for a week. I literally just got through picking my gums with a fork and made them bleed and im swishing hot salt water in my mouth to stop the blood and I still have the urge to pick em with the fork as I have the water in my mouth im only fifteen but I've been doing this occasionally since I was 2.

July 19, 2015

I can't BELIEVE this support group exists... Oh my God, I am totally obsessed with picking my gums and I don't know what to tell the dentist. The pain feels so good and I can never stop. I'll bite my nails and use those (gross, I know) or honstly whatever is available. Or I'll dig bits of food deep in so it hurts so badly. I don't know what to do, but it's good to know I'm not alone. I's been awful for about three months, but I've had the urge occasionally for years.

40yrs of picking
July 30, 2015

Today is my 46th birthday and I currently have a toothpick jammed as far as it will go in between my teeth. I've been doing this since I was a kid, starting with my fingernails. Toothpicks are now my weapon of choice. I had no idea until today that anyone else did this or that it was a form of self harm. OMG. I can get a toothpick all the way through my teeth just behind the top 'fangs'! The gums have receded over those teeth. I pick until my mouth is full of blood and the gums don't bleed easily any more. I really have to dig and shove. My mouth hurts for days afterwards and it is hard to eat. I can eat anything firm or acidic without extreme pain. I also bite the inside of my lips until there is no smooth skin left. My husband begged me to stop so I did for a while but I started picking the soles of my feet so badly that I could hardly walk. Now I do both! Sometimes I do it for no apparent reason but I also do it for another reason no one has mentioned. Whenever I get a migraine headache (at least once a month) or a bad head cold or extreme hay fever or allergy (cats and horses), I do it to relieve the pain! It gets rid of the migraine even when strong medication can't! It stops the sneezing of colds and allergies and helps clear my sinuses so I can breathe when I get sick! I don't know why exactly, but I guess it has something to do with the redirection of blood circulation - away from the sinuses and down into the gums. I pick a lot less than I did when I was younger but when I do it is a lot worse. I would stop if I knew how and if doctors knew how to stop my migraines. My husband and kids hate it.

Gum itcher
May 06, 2016

Yeah its been a habit of mine... I wanted to knock off my teeth holding back of it... But only in summers or when i have mouth blisters .. My gums would get inflammed and, i would just be pulling them until my blisters recover

August 16, 2016

Omg!!! It's a real condition! Is it actually physical or mental?? I've been picking my gums for years! The pain is magnetic!
I struggle to stop even when it's bleeding...I love the pain in a weird way! How do you stop it??

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