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Old 04-17-2010, 02:58 PM   #1
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Can anyone explain this to me?

Hey everybody,

My dad does this thing with his mouth where he bites really rapidly. It's not that he can't control his jaw(i've seen where people move their jaw rapidly and this is much different). My dad seems to be biting something in his mouth as he always spits something out after he does it(what I assume to be some sort of tissue). When you're near him, you can actually hear him doing it. It is sort of a dull sound of teeth biting with a mix of a almost "crunching" sound. I, personally, envision him biting the inside of his cheeks or tongue. Also, I will catch him sticking his tongue out and him trying to pluck what could possibly be the tissue that he was biting at. When I saw him do it in the day, I noticed white spots on the tongue, and through research I found that it was leukoplakia. It used to be only occasionally that he would do this, but now he does it so much that he will pause in the middle of conversation to do the biting thing. It actually annoys me so much that I have tried to avoid talking to him as much as possible for months now.

Does anyone know what this could possibly be?

Last edited by acdc554; 04-17-2010 at 03:00 PM.

 
Old 04-17-2010, 04:24 PM   #2
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Re: Can anyone explain this to me?

Hello...I can understand how this issue with your dad is both concerning, and annoying. I had a few questions, if you don't mind...

After looking up leukoplakia, (lesions in the mouth, in this case) which are often caused by smoking and chewing tobacco...I can imagine repeated injury of the tissue by biting it would likely create something similar in appearance. Is he, or has he ever been a tobacco smoker/chewer ? It also mentioned that these lesions are often pre-cancerous, but I wonder if his would be, if they were not from tobacco.

As to the cause, I would suggest the possibility of anxiety...just as a hunch.

Have you been able to speak with your dad about it? He might not be conscious of it, if it has become a habit. How old is your dad, and how is his general health?

I know the mouth is one of the fastest area of the body to heal, but also full of bacteria, and infections in the mouth and gums are potentially dangerous, if untreated.

I am interested to hear more of this story, and I hope we can help you with this, for you and your dad.

Janet

 
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Old 04-18-2010, 09:20 AM   #3
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Re: Can anyone explain this to me?

Yes, my father has been a life long smoker. I had also read that leukoplakia can be precancerous and agitated by environmental factors such as smoking as well.

I think you might be on to something concerning anxiety. Times have been pretty tough for my family lately. We've been hit pretty hard financially, and I've been in and out of the hospital and doctors offices for heart problems.

My dad is not what I would call the peak of health. He is obese and does not seemed too concerned about his eating habits(I'm going to be a nutrition major too, so I annoy him about it all the time). He also has high blood pressure which I would attribute to obesity along with the stressors of life. He is 53 years old, and he has also had a benign tumor on his ear a couple of years back. Although he is not the "picture of health", he has got one of the most bubbly personalities and has good mental health .

My dad does seem to be doing it unconsciously. I remember my brother and his girlfriend came over for diner, and we were all sitting around the table talking and eating, yet he still seemed to persist to do that biting thing as if he were oblivious to the family and the guest.

I don't talk to him about the "chomping" thing because I don't want to embarrass him, and I know if I do say something, it might be out of anger or annoyance which will come off very negatively. I usually vent to my mom about it, and she, allegedly, tells him that he is doing it. My whole family notices it, and it appears that we are all equally annoyed by it. I've been telling my mom he needs to see a dentist and a general practitioner and that she needs to go with him to tell the doctors that this is happening. Unfortunately, my family has been reluctant to go to the doctors due to our financial situation.

Thanks for the fast response, Janet. Also, thanks for not making me feel like the ultimate bad guy for being annoyed by this. I love my father to death, but his new habit has been driving us all crazy haha.

Thanks again,

-Pat

 
Old 04-18-2010, 01:57 PM   #4
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Re: Can anyone explain this to me?

Hey Pat...Thanks for the kind words. I definitely understand the annoying (kinda gross, actually) issue/habit here...And I can sense your love for you father, which I can now see more clearly. "Bubbly", what a great description.

So, in my experience...I can see a connection between the leukoplakia and the "chomping", further impacting dad would be anxiety, which would also drive his blood pressure up, making all of this worse.

I am so sorry to hear of your heart problems too, you sound like a great guy, and well spoken.

My advice here is to acknowledge the anxiety, and have that treated first. At this point he probably can's stop, and it is what he is using to cope with the anxiety. We all cope with anxiety in different ways, most of them being negative...drinking, smoking, nail biting, chomping...and self destructive.

Is he still smoking? I can see the chain of events here...He smoked way less of it, it lead to health problems, which led to his mouth lesions, which both drove him nuts and bothered him at the same time, everything gets tight financially, his dear son is ill, he has to chomp.

This has become your good dads strategy to cope, poor dad. Since you do not want to come off negatively (very nice), I would approach your dad in the most loving way, and let him know you understand all that he is going through. Men often feel crushed when they can't "fix" things any more, and really need more support than ever to get better. Don't bother him about the chomping, put this all together for a little trip to the family doctor, and get him some anxiety medication. There might also be an effective medication to relive the lesions, making them less annoying for him. There are also studies you can join that pay you to try anxiety medications, but that would be my second choice for treatment.

With the anxiety relieved (takes a few weeks), he should feel much better, and the need to chomp will subside. Anti-anxiety medications are a small expense, with a big payoff..

Friends, Janet
feel free to write me...I am disabled, so I have a lot of time to write!

Last edited by writeleft; 04-18-2010 at 01:59 PM.

 
Old 04-19-2010, 09:39 AM   #5
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Re: Can anyone explain this to me?

Thanks again for the advice, Janet. I am really going to make a push to get him in the doctor's office. He and my mom both smoke, so my plan is to get them to stop smoking at the same time. They always seem eager to stop smoking, but they always have difficulties setting a date for them to stop. I thought about telling them to stop smoking for an organization that they care about.That way they could accumulate all the money they would have originally spent on cigarettes, and donate it to that specific charity.

The anxiety medication sounds like a pretty good idea, especially if he is to quit smoking(maybe it would help). You're very right about it being a big payoff too. Although it is not FDA approved for anxiety, my doctor prescribed me Metoprolol for my heart which doubles as anxiety medication. It has helped a lot.

Thanks again for your response!

Your friend,

-Pat

 
Old 04-19-2010, 07:58 PM   #6
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Re: Can anyone explain this to me?

Hi Pat...

I like your idea about using a charity as inspiration to quit smoking...very nice! And doing it together, as a family, creates the most supportive environment for change. May I ask how old you are Pat? I am so impressed with your expressions of concern and love for your parents, any parents dream. Do you live with them? Siblings? Not completely relevant to your questions, just interested...I have met some interesting people here, and would like to know more about you!

About your heart...can you tell me a little about that, if you care to? I have heart issues myself, and quite a few others too. Just a quick history on me, I had 4 strokes cause by very high blood pressure, which led to kidney failure, heart attack, and at this point have had damage to other organs as well. I am only 49, and have my youngest son (16) still at home.

I joined the Healthboards to try to get support from other stroke survivors, and learned how to type again here, which opened my life back up, as my speech was still very jumbled, and I was suddenly homebound. These days, I am trying to use the experiences I have had medically, to support others, like you. Since I cannot get out like I used to, I use this as my form of volunteerism.

I do hope you can get your folks into the doctor, and get your dad some help. I know when I finally recognized the anxiety had snuck into my life (starting following the strokes, 5 years ago), it took me a long while to address it, and get treated. In my case, the anxiety drove my blood pressure up dangerously high, even while I didn't "feel" stressed. The treatment resolved that, which all the BP medication couldn't touch. It also gave me a quality of life that I could not achieve without it. I also stopped biting my nails, which drove me crazy, and eased that sense of dread that came over me.

Talk to ya later Pat...
Janet

 
Old 04-20-2010, 12:47 AM   #7
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Re: Can anyone explain this to me?

thats habituated but you discover white patch as leucoplaqia. it is dengerous because it is a symptom of HIV INFECTIONS FOLLOWING AIDS. SO YOU MUST BE SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR FATHER TO ENSURE HIS HEALTH AS FAR AS POSSIBLE. BYE

Last edited by hb-mod; 04-20-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Removed Quote. Please use "QUICK reply" rather than "QUOTE reply". Thanks!

 
Old 04-20-2010, 01:18 AM   #8
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Re: Can anyone explain this to me?

Not sure about the AIDs reference...

 
Old 04-20-2010, 10:11 AM   #9
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Re: Can anyone explain this to me?

Hey Janet,

I am 19 years old and live with the family; however, I am moving in to my own place soon ! I have one brother and a dog that is practically human(I sleep in the dog house, and he gets the bed.) My brother is 24 years old and is soon to be married! Thanks for the compliments concerning my smoking idea . I usually get a cup of decaf coffee every day from this really good coffee shop close by. It is generally 2 dollars a cup, and I realized one day that I was spending about 700+ dollars on coffee a year, which morphed into my smoking idea. I figured that would be a nice, tidy sum of money for a deserving charity if all the money for cigarettes was compiled over a year.

In terms of heart problems, I went to the hospital a year ago with atrial fibrillation. The doctors were blown away by the fact I had a fib at age 18. From that point on, I have had steady chest pain, palpitations, brief episodes of atrial fibrillation, headaches, and dizziness. I was uninsured when I went to the hospital because my dad was laid off two weeks prior to the whole episode.This discouraged me from seeing the cardiologist for about a year or more. Finally, I made it to the doctors, and they ran a stress test and a 24 hr urinary test. Also, I was wearing a 48 hr heart monitor. The urinary test came back non conclusive. If I am not mistaken, they were checking for a tumor on the adrenal glands because my blood pressure was very sporadic. When they checked my blood pressure the first time, it was high, but when they checked my blood pressure the second time, it was normal. Also, it was fluctuating during the stress test. After the 48 hr heart monitor, they gave me metoprolol because I had a lot of extra heart beats. This didn't concern the cardiologist too much; she told me there was not much to worry about.

Although the cardiologist does not seemed concerned, I still have chest pain, dizziness, and tightness in my lungs. For the past 3 months, I have been pulling up congestion from my lungs. It is not yellow or brown, so I would assume that it is not sinus oriented(but that's just my own speculation). Also, I do not see any blood when I spit it out, which is good. However, for the past 2 weeks, I have had a slight amount of pain upon swallowing in the left side of the chest. I am paranoid now because I envisioned a tumor inside of my chest, so now I am worried about cancer(even though it is probably irrational). I was checked a while back for a collapsed lung because I was having chest pain, so I would imagine if there was anything cancerous, it would have shown up on the x ray.

I am sorry to hear about what happened to you. I can't imagine enduring all of what you went through. That's fantastic that you have relearned to type, though. Thank you so much for your replies. It really is nice of you to help people out on these forums, especially since you have perspective and relevant advice. I hope you continue to get better. You deserve it! I am sure your son is very thankful for having a mom like you.

Thanks a million,

-Pat

Last edited by acdc554; 04-20-2010 at 10:12 AM.

 
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