Lip-smacking is a common tic seen in people of all ages. It is often more noticeable when a person is anxious or stressed. While lip-smacking does not cause physical harm, it can be considered a nuisance by those around the person doing it. There are a few things that can be done to help stop lip-smacking.
What is lip-smacking?
Lip-smacking is a repetitive or rhythmic movement often seen in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It can also be seen in people with other neurological conditions, such as Tourette syndrome, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s.
Lip-smacking may be more common in children with ASD than adults, but it can persist into adulthood. It’s often accompanied by other self-stimulatory behaviors such as hand flapping, head banging, or rocking. While these behaviors can be disruptive or harmful, they can also provide a way for people to soothe themselves or cope with discomfort.
Causes of lip-smacking
For most people, Lip-smacking is usually caused by a dry mouth. Dry mouth can be caused by:
-Side effects of certain medications
If you think you might have a dry mouth, talk to your doctor. They can help you find the cause and treat it.
Lip-smacking can also be a tic. Tics are sudden, uncontrollable movements or sounds that people repeat repeatedly. Tics are more common in kids than adults but can happen at any age. If you have a tic, you might:
-Blink your eyes more than usual
-Shrug your shoulders
- You cleared your throat a lot.
- How to stop lip-smacking.
- Lip-smacking can be an annoying habit, not only for the person doing it but also for those around them. It can be tricky to stop, but you can do a few things to help. Let’s take a look at a few of the most effective methods.
- Change your diet.
- Lip-smacking can signify hunger, so try changing your diet first. Eat smaller, more frequent meals daily instead of three large meals. Include protein at every meal and snack, and ensure you’re getting enough fiber. Drinking lots of water will also help keep your mouth moist.
If you’re still lip-smacking after making dietary changes, there are a few things you can try to help break the habit. Chew gum or suck on hard candy to keep your mouth busy, and apply lip balm often to keep your lips moisturized. Use a straw for drinking beverages or sipping from a closed cup instead of drinking from an empty glass.
Drink plenty of fluids
Drinking plenty of fluids is one of the most effective ways to stop lip-smacking. Fluids help keep the mouth moist and prevent the lips from sticking together. Sucking on ice chips or drinking icy cold water can also help.
If you think you may be dehydrated, drink more fluids throughout the day and avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate the body.
Avoid trigger foods and drinks
Trigger foods and drinks make you want to smack your lips. Common trigger foods include salty snacks, such as chips, pretzels, and popcorn; sour foods, such as citrus fruits; and spicy foods. Common trigger drinks include sodas and energy drinks. You may also be more likely to smack your lips after eating or drinking sugary foods or drinks, such as candy, cake, and fruit juice.
To help stop lip smacking, avoid trigger foods and drinks as much as possible. If you can’t avoid them completely, eat or drink them in small amounts and take breaks between bites or sips. For example, drink water between bites of chips or popcorn. Or have a piece of fruit after eating spicy food.
Use a lip balm
If you want to stop lip smacking, one of the best things you can do is to use lip balm. This will help moisturize your lips and make them less likely to dry and crack. Lip balms that contain SPF are also a good option, as they will help to protect your lips from the sun.
Keep your lips hydrated
Drooling or constant lip smacking can be a side effect of certain medical conditions, such as GERD, Parkinson’s disease, or ALS. It can also be a habit that some people develop.
There are several things you can do to help stop lip-smacking:
- Keep your lips hydrated by drinking plenty of water and applying lip balm often.
- Avoid trigger foods and beverages, such as spicy, acidic, or high in sugar.
- Quit smoking if you are a smoker.
- Try to relax and manage stress, as anxiety can worsen the problem.
Talk to your doctor if these self-care measures don’t work or if your lip-smacking is severe. They may recommend medication or other treatments to help improve the situation.
When to see a doctor
If you or your child have a tic that’s severe, long-lasting, or getting worse, make an appointment to see a doctor. Also, see a doctor if any of the following accompanies tics:
-Problems with vision, hearing, speaking, or balance
-Paralysis or weakness in any part of the body
-Loss of consciousness
There is no definitive answer to how to stop lip-smacking. However, there are a few things that may help. For example, some people find that placing their tongues behind their teeth or holding a straw in their mouth can help. Others find that chewing gum or sucking on hard candy can help reduce the urge to smack lips. Find that your lip-smacking is interfering with your daily life. Talk to a doctor or therapist who can help you explore the underlying causes and develop strategies to reduce or eliminate the behavior.