Nail Biting and Your Oral Health
We’ve all heard how bad biting our nails can be, from the germs on our fingers to the risk of ingrown nails. But, did you know the impact nail biting can have on your oral health? Nail biting can result in damaged teeth, gaps, overbites and even periodontal diseases.
When biting nails, the front teeth often grind together, causing them to gradually shift over time. This shifting of your teeth can create a gap between teeth, resulting in malocclusion (a bad bite).
Our nails are quite hard; when biting nails, there is an increased risk of tooth damage such as chips, cracks and even fractures. Over time teeth may also become worn and uneven from grinding while nails are being bitten.
When we bite our nails, the unneeded pressure is also applied to the teeth and jaw bone. This pressure can result in the resorption of our tooth roots, weakening our teeth and increasing the risk of tooth loss.
Our fingers (and fingernails) are constantly touching things throughout the day, picking up germs along the way. When biting nails, these germs and bacteria can be introduced into the mouth and gums, increasing the risk of developing gingivitis and other gum diseases.
The unconscious habit of nail-biting may also increase the risk of unconscious teeth grinding/clenching (bruxism). Bruxism can lead to even more dental complications along with uncomfortable symptoms such as migraines.
Breaking the Nail Biting Habit
Want to break your nail biting habit and protect your teeth? Here are some common strategies for deterring nail biting:
- Keep nails trimmed.
- Use nail biting polish.
- Manicure nails, increasing motivation to keep them nice.
- Replace nail-biting with a more healthy habit.
- Reduce stress.
- Avoid nail-biting triggers.
Dr. Teeth Dental Care is Here For You
At our Katy dental office, we are dedicated to your oral health. If you feel as though your nail biting habit has affected your dental health, don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to schedule an appointment and evaluate your teeth, gums and overall oral health.