Is Your Nail Biting Habit Damaging Your Teeth?

Posted on: 7 December 2016

Many people bite their nails, whether due to nerves, excitement or boredom. This is a nasty habit your dentist wants you to get out of. Yes, it really is damaging your teeth. Here are four ways that your nail-biting habit damages your teeth.

Chipping and Cracking of the Teeth

Nail biting is weakening parts of your teeth. Your enamel and your actual teeth are more likely to crack or chip. After all, the teeth aren't designed to handle something as hard as your nails. They're for chewing food—and not the sugary manufactured food. When you use your teeth for anything other than their intended purpose, you run the risk of damage.

You likely won't even notice the chips or cracks at first. However, these minute problems cause the tooth to weaken. All it takes is a little unintended pressure and you will need an emergency dentist to repair your tooth. Or worse, the tooth could crack lower down, requiring tooth extraction instead of repair!

Nails Stick in the Gums

It's not just the teeth, but also the gums that are damaged. Your finger can easily slip while you chew at your nails, causing the nail to get stuck into the gum. Dentists have seen cases of gum disease and gum infections due nails damaging the gums. Even just a slight cut makes it easier for the bacteria to breed, since it is harder to clean out of the gums compared to harder surfaces.

You Likely Grind Your Teeth

Those who chew their nails are likely to develop bruxism later in life. This is the dental term for teeth grinding, which is often more common while you sleep. You'll know if you grind your teeth at night, as you'll have neck, jaw, or head pain.

When you grind your teeth, the enamel wears away. Your teeth are more likely to be affected by bacteria and plaque, so you have a high chance of developing tooth decay. Even if you don't have tooth decay, you're at a higher risk of developing chips or cracks than someone who doesn't grind their teeth.

Problems While Wearing Braces

When you wear braces, your teeth undergo high amounts of strain. Those who bite their nails too will make that strain worse, and problems with the roots of the teeth are common. One of the biggest issues is the bone around the roots dissolves. The teeth don't have a base, so they fall out.

If you will only give up one bad habit this year, make it biting your nails. Your dentist will thank you, since you lower your risk of so many oral problems.