While you may consider nail biting to be a harmless habit, dental professionals are asking you to think again. The Academy of General Dentistry reports that children and adults that bite their nails are putting their dental health at risk. Surprising to some, the stress of nail biting has the ability to crack, chip, and wear down the front teeth, not to mention increase the chance of root resorption and bruxism (grinding or clenching the teeth). For those wearing braces, the risks are even greater!
To better understand, consider the potential effects of nail biting on soft gum tissues. For instance, when sharp or jagged fingernails come in contact with gums, tissues can become irritated, torn, or damaged. In addition, bacteria beneath the nail bed are then transferred to the mouth and other parts of the body through the bloodstream. While this can certainly cause individuals to become sick, dental professionals highlight the risk of bruxism as the most serious effect of nail biting.
Bruxism is unintentional clenching or grinding of teeth. While Bruxism is sure to cause pain in the face, jaw, and ears, it also results in tooth sensitivity, recessed gums, and even tooth loss. Without question, Bruxism has severe implications for oral and dental health as tooth enamel becomes weakened and worn.
How Can I Stop Biting My Nails?
If you are hoping to bust your nail biting habit, it helps to identify when you are biting your nails. If you find yourself beginning to bite your nails when you’re emotionally or mentally stressed, or when you are experiencing anxiety, developing different coping behaviors can help. For instance, try keeping your hands busy by holding a stress ball or device to curb anxiety or anxiousness. You may also chew gum if this will keep your hands away from your mouth. Even so, keeping fingernails short works for some, while applying a bitter-tasting nail polish helps eliminates the desire for others.
One thing is certain–if you bite your nails, be patient with yourself. Stopping doesn’t happen overnight.
There’s A Solution For You
At Grateful Dental, Dr. Leia Porcaro provides comprehensive dentistry for all ages aimed at providing patients with a pleasing, comfortable dental experience. Patients love the individualized attention that they receive with Dr. Porcaro, and that’s why we invite you to call us today if you are trying to stop biting your nails. We promise–there’s a solution for you.