Is Biting Fingernails Bad for Teeth?

Compared to all the ordeals our teeth has to fail, nail-biting seems like a simple routine. However, biting your fingernails does not harm your beautiful manicure alone, but also damage your teeth.

Nail biting is not restricted to people of certain age groups – adults and children are both guilty. Many people bite their nails obliviously, sometimes due to nervousness, boredom, stress, or frustration. The nail is one of the hardest parts of the body and therefore should not take you unaware that biting down on your nails can induce enough damage on the teeth.

Effects of nail biting

The pressure and stress of biting your fingernails can cause cracks, chips, or deterioration of your front teeth. It is common to see chipped tooth amidst nail biters. Even worse, you can injure the tooth’s enamel by chewing on hard materials like fingernails.

Regular nail biters may have worn or squared off teeth. Additionally, they may experience tooth sensitivity or pain as the enamel deteriorates.

That is not all…

In severe cases, repeatedly biting the fingernails can cause TMJ, a disconcerting condition that causes jaw pain, headaches, and jaw clicks. Severe cases of TMJ may affect jaw alignment and cause the jaws to close improperly. Patients with braces suffer the most from nail-biting because the teeth are already under pressure from the braces.

Extended nail biting can affect the outcome of the orthodontic procedure, lead to root resorption and change proper tooth alignment.

One of the significant concerns of nail biting is the high risk of transferring bacteria and other germs from your fingers or beneath your fingernails to your mouth. The fingers and fingernails are known to store up to 150 bacteria species. Introducing these bacteria to your mouth can predispose you to illness, the risk of gum infection, bad breath, and poor dental health.

Considering the surfaces that you have touched with your fingers, you should have an overview of the different types of bacteria you might have accidentally picked up and transferred to your mouth.

How to stop biting your fingernails   

There are different methods for stopping habitual nail biting. Typically, children and adolescents eventually outgrow the habit by the time they are 30 or thereabouts, yet they may need help to quit the teeth-damaging habit. Below are few methods to stop nail biting:

Always keep your nails neatly trimmed and filed. Untrimmed nails can induce biters to bite.

Use acrylic nails, get a manicure, or paint your nails. If you spend time, effort, and money into making your nails look good, you would be less tempted to chew on the nails.

Treat the underlying cause of anxiety, frustration, and stress that makes you bite your nails. Positive techniques are available to redirect your energy from nail biting to stress-relieving activities.

Have others keep you in check. Coupled with your commitment to stop the habit, you can have family and friends caution you when you start chewing on the nails.

Consider using special nail polish with a bitter taste. You will chew your fingernails less if you have to bear the repulsing taste of nail polish.

Call (703) 651-1942 today to reach Lake Ridge Dental Care.

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