Nail biting is incredibly common and can occur for a wide array of reasons. Most people are aware of the damage that nail biting can cause to fingernails. It can substantially detract from the appearance of the nails, as well as increase the likelihood of infection. Nail biting can also cause damage to the surface of your teeth. It is important to take the steps necessary to protect your teeth from harm. The same thing applies to the teeth of your children. Taking the steps to prevent nail biting can help to reduce tooth sensitivity, strengthen the teeth, and provide multiple other benefits.
Habits that Harm your Teeth
There are many habits that can cause significant amounts of damage to your teeth. It is important to understand how many common habits can cause harm to your teeth to ensure that your teeth can remain in the best possible condition. Grinding the teeth and clenching the jaw can cause teeth to wear down excessively, which often results in damage. Many people are unaware that overbrushing the teeth can wear down the enamel layer of the teeth, so it is important to ensure that you effectively protect your teeth while brushing. Nail biting can also cause damage to the surface of the teeth.
Nail Biting and your Teeth
Nail biting can hurt the teeth in a variety of ways. Ultimately, your teeth aren’t intended to chew on hard substances like the keratin that makes up your nails. It is important to understand how biting your nails may impact your teeth in order to effectively protect them from sustaining damage.
Your teeth are intended to chew food, not nails. When you chew on your fingernails, you are causing more wear on the teeth than they are intended to withstand. This can cause the teeth to weaken and become more vulnerable to sustaining further damage.
When teeth are worn down from biting your nails, they will become more likely to sustain cracks and other damage. It is important to see your dentist immediately after a tooth has been cracked to take the measures to restore it to its previous condition. Ceasing from biting your nails can help to prevent your teeth from sustaining cracks.
Bacteria frequently accumulate around and underneath the fingernails. This is why it is important to keep your hands away from your mouth and eyes. When you chew on your fingernails, you may increase the likelihood of infections and accelerate the rate at which oral diseases spread in the mouth.
Bruxism is essentially when you grind the teeth together, which often leads to damage. When you regularly bite your nails, you are essentially training your teeth to clench together whenever you are exposed to one of your triggers. This can cause bruxism to prevail even when you make a conscious effort to avoid biting your fingernails.
Damage the Gums
When you bite your nails, it is unlikely that they will break evenly. This leaves jagged and sharp edges behind. Biting your nails can lead to scratches on the surface of your gums. Scratches can ultimately lead to infections and other issues with your oral health.
Placing pressure on your teeth by biting your nails can force your teeth to shift out of place. This shifting ultimately weakens the roots that anchor your teeth to the gums. When the roots of your teeth are weakened, it can negate orthodontic treatment.
Break the Habit
Biting your nails can cause substantial amounts of damage to your teeth. It is important to take the steps necessary to break the habit when you regularly bite your nails. Here are a few helpful steps to take to prevent nail biting from damaging your teeth.
Maintain your Nails
It is important to provide appropriate maintenance to your nails if you want to minimize the likelihood of biting them. For one thing, short nails won’t have ample length for you to chew on, so keeping your nails short and trimmed can substantially reduce your nail biting. In addition, you will likely be averse to chewing on your nails if they are manicured and maintain a beautiful appearance.
Keep your Hands Busy
Nail biting is a habit that often occurs in response to many different scenarios. Whether it results from boredom or anxiety, finding alternative things to do with your hands can prevent you from biting your nails. You can use a rubix cube or stress ball to provide your hands with something to do that doesn’t end in biting your nails.
Chewing gum is a far healthier habit than biting your fingernails. Sugar-free gum can help to increase your saliva production. This goes a long way toward flushing out harmful particles from the teeth.
Pay Attention to Triggers
When you frequently bite your nails, it will be important to determine what is causing you to bite them. After you identify what triggers your nail-biting, you will be able to take the steps to avoid those triggers.
Take it One Nail at a Time
Quitting nail biting doesn’t have to be cold turkey. Focusing on stopping biting one nail at a time can go a long way toward simplifying the process. This can help to make it much easier to quit biting your nails over the long run.
Find Alternatives to Stress Relief
Nail biting is often a result of excessive stress. Finding alternatives to relieving your levels of stress can go a long way toward reducing your nail biting. This can be done with options like seeing a therapist, meditating regularly, or taking a yoga class.
There are many ways in which nail biting can impact the health of your teeth, as well as the teeth of your children. Nail biting is a habit that is often formed in childhood, so it can be especially important for parents to understand how to break the nail-biting habit. Here at Mountain View Pediatric Dentistry, we are passionate about protecting the health of your children’s teeth. To learn more about enhancing the health of their teeth, contact our experts today!