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Nail Biting Is Harmful To Your Teeth

smile health dentist teethNail biting typically starts in childhood and can carry on into adulthood. A good number of people are not able to grow out of the problem. For some people, anxiety promotes nail biting. Other people are using their teeth to trim them.

Nail biting increases the risk of chipping or cracking your teeth. Your nails are made of keratin, a tough protein that hardens with continued growth. The hard material may damage the teeth when you bite the nail.

After all, our teeth are meant to chew food. Biting your nails will wear down teeth that are meant to last your lifetime. Excessive wear is linked to dental problems such as enamel erosion and misaligned bite.

People going through stressful, anxious times will often find an outlet in their old nail-biting habit. This habit often leads to teeth grinding even after the biting stops. Bruxism is an unconscious habit which happens when we’re under stress and even occurs during sleep. The enormous pressure when grinding teeth may lead to jaw pain, enamel erosion, headaches and tooth loss.

Damaged gum tissue is a possible consequence of nail biting, as the nail’s jagged and uneven edges can scrape or break the gum surface and expose the gum tissue to oral bacteria.

That brings up another issue: Your hands – and especially fingernails – often carry signficant bacteria from all the things we touch during the day. This bacteria will enter the mouth and wreak havoc on oral health, as irritated gums can absorb it.

If you’re a nail biter, it’s best to break the habit. Explore stress coping programs like meditation. If brittle nails are causing you to bite them, consider taking nutritional supplements containing biotin which strengthens nails. Also, make sure your nails are trimmed to prevent nail biting.

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Dr Ashley Davenport BDS MFGDP(UK)

I qualified as a dentist in 1995 and can honestly say that I have been doing a job that I love for the past 20 plus years. Most people who know me well know that dentistry is a passion for me and that if I won the lottery I would still want to have some dentistry in my life. I get huge satisfaction from treating patients and making a difference to ...

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Last updated: September 28th, 2023

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