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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
November 09, 2009
Wow. I love that hurts so good feeling you get from flossing too hard! Or poking with a tooth pick too much. It feels like my gums are somehow cleansing themselves with that blood throbbing sensation! It's bad for your gums and I think you need to try to nip it in the bud asap before it develops into a full blown habit. Do you have bad teeth? Damaged teeth? Do your teeth hurt and that's why you want to pull them out? Cuz that's how mine are! Sometimes I just want to be free of them and have full dentures!!! But I'm only 31.
January 20, 2010

In reply to by Moonkitty

actually my teeth are really good.. and i'm only 17!! i try to only pick at my teeth in the back so no one will see my damaged gums.. thanks for the help guys, i'm really trying to stop
May 01, 2013

In reply to by sonia

I just stopped by simply stopping out of fear that my gum recession would get worse to require surgery! I am only twelve. Should I tell anyone that I did it? Should I seek further help even though I've stopped! Help please.
May 26, 2010

In reply to by Moonkitty

This is fantastic that I'm not alone in this gum picking thing. All of the reasons given and pleasures derived are exactly the ones that I experience and keep us doing it. I don't know about anyone else, but the thought of the loss of teeth isn't really all that compelling as a reason to stop compared to the incredibly addicting pain / pleasure sensation. Seriously though, how can we stop? What is the best option? I've considered everything from psychiatry to hypnosis to accupuncture. I think that everyone is individual and what may work for one person may not work for everyone. I'm open for anything.
May 17, 2012

In reply to by Moonkitty

hi moonkitty, i'm novena201, i read your post and i was really intrigued by it. though i definitely understand how you feel. i'm reltively new to the group but i just like you have been an avid gum picker for years now. it does feel good and we don't know exactly why. do the gums have some sort of nerve endings? and i used to dig with a straw till i got that blood throbbing sensation, too. but don't pull your teeth out now, at least not yet, we finally found this support group. so hang in there. girl. shoot me an email back or reply and tell me what you think, ok
November 16, 2009
I have the same urge but it's due to itching and inflammation, and lately recession due to grinding at night and of course the 20 years of biting my cuticles. All of that friction and bacteria can't be good for the gums. I have also fantasized about sticking a needle, preferably containing some numbing medication into my gums. Or removing them, cleaning underneath and all around and magically reattaching them. I've found that listerine really helps. It's just the right strength to soothe and sear away the irritation. I like to floss and use a dental pick often as well. Definitely keep this habit in check. Gum recession is irreparable unless you have an expensive grafting procedure. Good luck.
November 19, 2009
Oh this could be really bad, you could introduce bacteria into your gums which could easily travel into the sinuses and it could be very dangerous. You could also loose teeth doing this. I hope and pray you can stop. I pray that we all can.
January 23, 2010
I have been gouging my gums for years. I have done so much damage to my gums I've have 5 surgeries ( skin grafts) to repair the damage. I now confine my picking to the tongue side of my front teeth. I use to use instruments such as finger nail files, pen caps, tweezers, knives to cut them. I now only use my finger nails. My gums are so damaged they don't even bleed much . I miss the blood. I am so ashamed that I do this I never told anyone until I found out self harm is part of Borderline personality disorder, which I was diagnosed with last year. I never knew others did it also. We might be a small group, but its nice to know there are others.
May 17, 2012
I've been picking in my gums for practically as long as i can remember. first i started just scraping with my fingernails, i enjoyed the feeling so much i moved on to peeling off a finger nail and sticking it between my teeth to dig in my gums. then as i grew older i moved on to needles, straws pins even unfolded paper clips. i would just sit on my bed and dig for hours. it just felt so damn good. too good to stop. my gums would get swollen and even throb a bit. today i still do it but mostly in private and with toothpicks and floss.but sometimes a pin. i've tryed to stop but when i get the urge to pick i always go back. i'm so glad i found this group maybe you guys can help. what do you think? shoot me an email or reply back. thanks.
May 30, 2012
Oh my gosh!! I have been such a bad gum picker for so long!! I cant believe there are other people who do the same thing!!! :D wow this is amazing...I'm sure glad I'm not alone! I've always thought I was some sort of pain-loving OCD freak because I pick at my gums and nails until they bleed and I spend all night crying from the pain (in my nails at least). If anyone finds out a way to kick this I'd love to hear it, and if anyone needs support hit me up! Thanks guys :)
June 13, 2012
I seriously though I was the only one my entire life that loves gum pain. I am 30 yrs. old and it's not every day that I have the urge to do this but maybe a few times per year. If I am conscious of my teeth and gums then I start to want to pick at them. If I keep myself busy I won't do it. Chewing gum every day helps keep sharp objects away from my gums. I've read on previous comments that someone said it's borderline personality disorder in which I think if you let it get out of hand it probably would be considered that. I have been fighting the urge to dig a my gums for 2 days now and really think I won't be satisfied until I feel that throb. Sounds sick. I have poked at my gums with my nails, a dull needle, paper clips,tooth picks, I really like the mint dental picks because the gums feel super clean afterwards. I don't like to bleed while doing it but I just like the way the pressure feels for some crazy reason. I also have a huge problem every so often on chewing the sides of my cheeks until they feel like a deconstructed road! All gouged up and stuff. I think I do this because of nerves. I'll force myself to stop because of how disgusting it feels and then start over once it's smooth again. Just the feeling and sound it makes when my K-9's pinch the skin and breaks it ever so slightly. Chunk after chunk until I feel no more smooth skin. The only reason I am staying away from any of this is because I have had a really bad cavity close to my nerve a few months back and the dentist apparently didn't numb me enough and wouldn't stop drilling away the rot and the pain was so intense I wanted to just rip his eyes out! I ended up in the chair having a massive panic attack and they left me in the room freaking out! My tooth hasn't been the same since the filling and I believe the root is slowly dyeing. I may need a root canal which is freaking me out! The thought of them drilling a hole through this tooth and filing my nerves down and filling it with rubber just makes me so uneasy! At some point it has to get done. It has caused me to clench my teeth at night so now I have jaw pain and the gum around that tooth must be irritated because it's screaming for me to just pick at it with something sharp!!!
June 17, 2012
I as well pick my gums.If you want them to stop bleeding and stuff floss your teeth and brush your teeth in circles and you're gums will get strong again!
June 28, 2012
So, I dont really "pick" at my gums.. but this was the best thing I could find to see if someone could help me. I have been chewing on the inside of my cheeks for as long as I can remember. I dont remember when I started but I've done it for years. I do it every day. Driving, watching a movie, anything. I even do it in public I'm so addicted to it. Sometimes it just a small sliver of skin.. but other times it's rather large chunks until my mouth is bleeding. My boyfriend sees me do it and doesnt know why I do it and I know it has to freak him out. I just dont know why I do it. Or how to stop. Help?!
July 12, 2012

In reply to by Nina

I used to do this too. Sometimes I still revert back to chewing my cheek if I'm super stressed out. It's a boredom thing. Some people have an increased oral fixation than others. It's the same reason some people can't stop eating, or biting their nails, or even picking at their gums. It gives a sense of relief. Eventually I just would catch myself doing it, and start chewing gum or sucking on an ice cube. Hope it helps!
July 31, 2012
Hey guys! It's so nice to hear that other people have the same problem as I do. I thought I was all alone in this, and that I was some kind of freak. Only my two closest friends know that I do this. I've been practicing whatever this may be since I was about 5. I would pick off my nails and use the end(the sharp part) to pick at my teeth. I guess you could say I don't really pick at them, I kind of shove it down the middle towards the nerve. Oh, I love the feeling. It does not bleed really-just a little bit.. But I feel as if I am damaging the nerve/roots of my teeth. And it's a hurt/pleasure type of pain. I do this until it hurts so much I get a headache and start to cry. I'd love to stop-really. But, I can't. It's really hard to stop. I say I'm going to stop.. and the next day I'm back at doing it. If you were a normal person looking at my teeth, you'd think they were perfect. I whiten them, brush them everyday.. floss sometimes(Not a lot because I start to press down really hard or go back and forth between my teeth until they bleed) So, I try to avoid floss. Anyways, you'd have to be a dentist to notice that I do this. And I know I need to stop because I don't want to be a 24 year old who has holes in her gums. I need to know how to treat this, or how to at least stop. Is there a word specially for this? Someone told me it could possibly be linked to BPD, considering my past and what I've been through. But, Can anyone really help me?
September 16, 2012

In reply to by Nikita

Omg I think u just described exactly what I do. I bite of a fingernail and use the sharpest end to dig it between my teeth in the gum and it feels great. It's has become such a habit that sometimes I don't realize I'm doing it. And don't let me get a hold of a toothpick.... Enough said.
November 12, 2012
The same thing has happened to me. It started when i was little and i just used my fingernails to just stab my gum. I dont know how i liked it but it went from fingernails to wires to strings and on and on. I used to do it just for comfort. I would get so nervous about something and just poke at my gums. I dont know how i was amazed by the blood that i could taste in my mouth. I would pick them all day. The next day i would wake up and there would be a big, red, throbbing sore on my gum. I still do it today and its just freaking everyone i know out... help me. Thankss!
January 24, 2013
As far back as I can remember I have been picking at my gums. I don't know why I like the feeling so much. I love picking then putting tooth paste on the freshly picked makes my eyes water from the burn. I can't stop. I really thought i was the only one in the world that does this, I mean who searchs the internet for people that pick gums, while picking her gums. This is not the American Pickers I wanted to be. HELP! Picking in Connecticut.
March 18, 2013
I'm 28 and have scraped and sucked away my gums so badly that I have caused real damage to my teeth, I started doing this as a toddler and anytime I am upset, angry or stressed I do some real damage, I never realised so many other people have the same problem, I'm currently pregnant and find myself literally scraping my gums away with my nails on a regular basis, I think about getting a knife and picking all my gums away toothed route of my teeth, what is wrong with me.......

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