Do you have a habit of biting your nails? Many people find themselves doing this due to a variety of different reasons. This can be linked to anxiety, boredom, perfectionism, and other causes. Many people don’t even notice that they are doing it. While nail biting may seem harmless, the truth is that it can actually be bad for your smile and overall health. Continue reading to learn about the different consequences of nail biting and some tips to help you quit.
How Does Nail Biting Harm Your Smile?
Because your teeth are harder than your nails, you may think that this habit won’t do any harm. However, the truth is that it can significantly damage your oral health. Here are a few different issues that it can cause:
- Damaged teeth: The grinding friction that occurs between your teeth and nails can grind away your protective enamel. This means that you could develop cracks and chips that require dental treatment to repair.
- Gaps: If you are frequently biting your nails, your teeth could begin to move. This means that you could experience problems with your bite and gasp between the teeth.
- Bruxism: Having a habit of biting your nails increases your chances of developing bruxism. This is where you clench and/or grind your teeth. This can lead to oral health issues, like temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), that can cause headaches and soreness.
How Can You Quit Biting Your Nails?
Here are a few tips that many patients have found helpful to drop their nail-biting habit:
- Cut them short: If you have shorter nails, there will be less to bite on. File them down so that there aren’t any tempting edges to chew on.
- Use bitter nail polish: You can find over-the-counter bitter tasting nail polish that can help you from biting your nails.
- Invest in a manicure: You won’t want to mess up your beautiful nails once you have spent money on a gorgeous manicure.
- Find another habit: If you think that you bite your nails as part of a nervous habit, try to find something else to do when you are feeling anxious. Make a fist or use a stress ball.
Nail biting is difficult to give up, but it is important so that you can prevent oral health issues. Try using some of the tips listed above. You may just find something that works.
About the Author
Dr. Bobby Shirley is an experienced dentist who has been practicing for more than 15 years. He earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry and is currently a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry. For more mays to keep your smile healthy or to schedule an appointment at his office in Dallas, GA, visit his website or call (770) 445-6606.