Biting your nails is a bad habit that affects more than just the look of your fingers. You can see that frequent nail-biting wreaks havoc on your nails, cuticles, and skin around your nails. But you may not have given much thought to the effect it has on your teeth.
In many cases, fingernail biting is a bad habit that begins in childhood. An estimated 60 percent of kids and 45 percent of teenagers bite their nails, with 30 percent of people continuing the habit into adulthood.
Nail-biting is usually a reaction to stress, but it can also be a nervous habit triggered by boredom or frustration. Whether you bite your nails consciously or not, it can cause significant damage to your teeth.
At 1st in Smiles, we’re happy to help you overcome this destructive habit. Call 972-905-9266 for an appointment.
How Biting Your Nails Harms Your Teeth
Anytime you chew on a hard object, especially one that isn’t meant to be chewed on, you increase your risk of chipping, cracking, or breaking your teeth. While we can fix these issues with restorative dentistry, it’s best to prevent the damage from occurring in the first place.
Additionally, the constant strain that nail-biting puts on your teeth can cause your teeth to gradually shift or become misaligned. This pressure is especially risky if you have braces because your teeth are already under pressure from the orthodontic appliance.
Biting your nails is also bad news for your teeth and your oral health because it helps spread bacteria. Even if your fingers and nails look clean, there is a shocking number of bacteria lingering there. Every time you bite your nails, you transfer those germs to your mouth. This means you, your immune system, and your dentist have to work even harder to keep your teeth and your mouth clean and healthy.
Try Out Tips to Stop Biting Your Nails
To avoid the impact that nail-biting has on your teeth and your oral health, consider the following tips to stop biting your nails:
- Use nail polish to your advantage. There are bitter-tasting polishes specially formulated for people who want to quit biting their nails. You can also use regular clear or colored nail polish to discourage you from biting your nails.
- Keep your nails short so there is less nail to chew on.
- If your nail-biting is stress-related, try alternative stress-relief techniques like meditation, exercise, yoga, or deep breathing.
- Talk with loved ones about your desire to stop biting your nails. Their encouragement and gentle reminders can make a big difference.
Remember, at 1st in Smiles we will never judge you or shame you over your bad habits. We only want to help you maintain a healthier lifestyle that promotes optimal oral health.
Call us today at 972-905-9266 to schedule a checkup and professional cleaning. Then, during your time with us, talk to us about your desire to quit the bad habits that are harming your teeth. We will do what we can to help guide you in the right direction, so that you can take better care of your teeth.