Whether it’s out of boredom, nervousness, or your nails just get too long and nail clippers aren’t handy, biting your nails is one of the most common habits. While nail biting may seem to ease stress, at my St. Joseph dental office, we want you to know that it’s not only a great way to transfer germs that could make you sick, it could also lead to a variety of dental problems.
- Chips. We’re not talking about the salty, crunchy kind. We’re referring to the tooth enamel damage caused by nail biting. Fingernails are hard, and gnawing on them can lead to chips or cracks in the teeth.
- Wear and Tear. Like the rest of your body, your teeth need to take periodic breaks. If you’re constantly putting stress on them by nail biting, teeth may begin to wear down and could become uneven.
- Jaw Issues. Biting your nails may lead to TMJ Disorder, which causes painful headaches, locking or popping of the jaw, or jaw pain. Because of the abnormal way your jaw needs to move around to nibble off a nail, it may throw the alignment out of whack, leading to TMJ Disorders.
- Back to the Grind. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) states that nail biters may be putting themselves at greater risk for bruxism, or unintentional grinding or clenching of teeth. Grinding and clenching can lead their own host of problems including jaw issues, headaches, and tooth damage.
- Dental Bills. Since there is such a strong correlation between nail biting and dental problems, it’s not surprising that those who are chronic nail biters end up having higher dental bills than non-biters. According to the AGD, people who bite their nails end up paying an additional $4,000 in dental bills throughout their lifetime.
If you’ve been biting your nails and can’t seem to stop, give my dental office in St. Joseph a call. We can talk about ways others have successfully broken the habit, check your mouth of any potential side effects, and work with you to get your mouth healthy.
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