Nail Biting: More Than Just a Bad Habit – How it Harms Your Teeth & Oral Health

January 22, 2019

Biting Your Nails Is Bad for Your Pearly Whites!

Your teeth are important to your life. Without them, talking and eating would be almost impossible. Because your teeth are so vital to your life, it only makes sense that you would want to take care of them as best as you can. There are habits, however, that are bad for your teeth that you might not be aware of. There are obvious habits that are bad for your teeth, such as smoking, chewing tobacco, not brushing your teeth, and eating a sugar-rich diet. Though these are the most popular ways to damage your teeth, there are other ways to damage your teeth as well. For instance, biting your nails is terrible for your teeth! Yes, little did you know your nervous habits are actually taking a toll on your teeth and your health. With each nail that you bite from your fingers, you could be doing life-long damage to your teeth!

In this blog, we will be discussing why nail-biting is bad for you and your teeth. Hopefully, by reading this blog, you will have a better understanding of your dental health and take action to stop the habit of biting your nails.

What Is Under Your Nails?

Your fingers touch hundreds of objects each day. With all that activity, they pick up dirt and bacteria from your surroundings. Think about it, every surface, from your computer keyboard to the lock of a bathroom stall is on your fingers. Despite how much, or how thoroughly, you wash your hands, there are some strains of bacteria that can linger under your fingernails. Because of this, when you bite your nails, you are ingesting those bacteria strains. Depending on the bacteria, your immune system could be compromised and you could easily fall ill. Obviously, no one likes to be sick, especially if you have only so many sick days. In order to remain healthy, keeping your fingers clear of your mouth is imperative.

And, if you aren’t ingesting the bacteria when you are placing your fingernails in your mouth, you may be allowing germs to enter your body through your nail-beds themselves. When you over-chew on your nails, you can dwindle your nail down to the nail bed. When this tissue is exposed to the open air, it provides an easy pathway for infectious bacteria to enter your body.

Biting Your Nails Can Shift Your Teeth

Aside from your general health, biting your nails is extremely bad for your teeth. Typically, you will want to use your teeth as a tool to chew your food. When you chew on your nails, you run the risk of shifting your teeth out of place. Biting your nails can actually disturb the natural alignment of your teeth and skew them to be crooked. When this happens, you are much more likely to need correctional braces or even a retainer.This can be a bad thing for two reasons. For one, if your teeth are naturally straight, the last thing you want to do is misalign your teeth because of your bad habit. Second, if you make your teeth crooked after years of biting your nails, you might eventually need braces. And, of course, braces can be painful and expensive.

Nail-Biting Could Cause Damage to the Enamel

Your enamel is your teeth’s only real defense. Without it, your teeth are defenseless against bacteria and damage. Once your enamel is worn away or damaged, you cannot get it back. Though there are practices, such as fluoride coatings that replicate the enamel, it isn’t the real thing. Your natural enamel is your teeth’s best protector.
When you bite your nails, you are damaging and disrupting your enamel. Essentially, when you bite your nails, you are scrapping your nails against the surface of the enamel. Over time, this could mean that you can incrementally scrape off all of your enamel until there is nothing left. To protect your teeth and your enamel the best practice is to stop biting your nails.

Stop Biting Your Nails

Nail-biting is a nervous, and sometimes, subconscious action. If you are a naturally anxious person, you may bite your nails to cope with your anxiety. Unfortunately, if this is true, you are doing more harm to yourself than good. In order to ensure your health, you should make a conscious effort to stop biting your nails. There are other ways to occupy your hands and mouth to distract you from biting your nails. And, if your nail-biting is due to an anxiety problem, perhaps trying to treat the root of your problem (your anxiety) is the best way to fix your bad habit.

Rocky Mountain Dentistry

Contact Rocky Mountain Dentistry today to learn more about our family and cosmetic dentistry services. With our help, we may be able to correct some of the damage to your teeth and teach you practices to ensure your dental health moving forward.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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