Is Nail Biting Bad for Your Teeth?

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Nail biting is one of the most common habits that people of all ages do, including children, teens and young adults. Many people engage in this habit unconsciously, most times either from nervousness, stress, or out of boredom. The nails are one of the hardest surfaces of the body, so it should not come as a surprise that chomping down on one can apply enough force against your teeth to cause damage.

Effects of Nail Biting

• Biting your nails can result in cracks, chips or erosion of the front teeth from pressure and stress.  Many nail biters experience tiny chips across their front teeth. Frequent nail biters may notice that their front teeth appear squared or worn down and shorter.  If you bite your nails regularly, you may also notice increased tooth sensitivity or even pain as the tooth enamel wears away.

• People with braces on their teeth experience the worst complications from nail biting. When orthodontic treatment, nail biting can cause root resorption or compromise the tooth alignment and your overall bite.

• Nails are filled with dirt and they are even dirtier than your fingers. If you bite into your nails, germs will easily get into your mouth and help the spread of bacteria.

How to Stop 

Biting Your Nails

• Keep nails trimmed and filed neatly. Nails with uneven edges are often temptation for nail biters.

• Get manicures done because you are least likely to chew on nice nails that you paid to have trimmed and maintained.

• Have family and friends remind you to stop when they see you starting to nibble at your nails.

Most children and adolescents eventually grow out of the habit by 30, or so, however habitual nail biters may need assistance stopping the habit.  Just knowing the facts and how damaging nail biting can be should help you to kick that habit for good.

I hope this Tooth Talk has helped and call or email if you have questions at Integrity Dental Care, PLLC, dr.jmitchell@integritydentalcares.com, (615) 445-8700.

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