How Nail Biting Can Affect Your Teeth
Nail biting is a subconscious habit that is easy to start doing but difficult to quit. This habit is claimed to be effective in relieving stress and helping you cope with excitement. While numerous factors can cause nail biting, it is generally a sign of severe nervousness, boredom, or the inability to cope with stressful situations.
Most people do not think about how this habit affects their dental health. The Academy of General Dentistry points out that nail biting can lead to cracking, chipping, or wearing down of the front teeth. Let’s explore some of the major effects of nailbiting on your teeth:
- Tooth chipping and cracking– The friction between your teeth and nails can erode the enamel over time. It can even result in your teeth chipping or cracking.
- Malocclusion – Nail biting can cause your teeth to shift, resulting in malocclusions (imbalanced bites) and unsightly gaps.
- Gingivitis – There’s usually loads of germs and dirt trapped under your fingernails. So, when you bite your nails, allthe dirt gets transferred to your mouth. That can lead to infections such as gingivitis.
- Root resorption –Nail biting can cause your jaw bone to reabsorb the roots. This can weaken the roots and leave your teeth more susceptible to falling out. This can be worse if you have wire braces.
- Bruxism – Biting your nails often can increase your risk of developing a chronic teeth-grinding problem. This can be accompanied by even more serious oral health complications, headaches, and soreness.
How to stop biting your nails
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help fight the nail biting habit.
Here are a few solutions:
- Make sure your nails are always trimmed You’ll have nothing to bite whenever the nail-biting urge strikes
- Coat your nails with a nasty tasting nail polish
- Have a rubber band around your wrist. Snap it every time you feel like biting your nails
- Ask your dentist about a mouth guard. It can help you stop nail biting
- Try to avoid situations that make you bite your nails, such as nervousness or boredom
Nail biting can cause serious harm to your teeth, but the above five practices can help you fight the habit.