The Long-Term Oral Health Consequences of a Nail-Biting Habit
If you are considering cosmetic dentistry in Saint Paul, you might be thinking of veneers or bonding to enhance and improve the appearance of your teeth. If you bite your nails, however, you might end up damaging your new dentistry with your nail biting habit.
In addition to the cosmetic implications of biting your nails, there are plenty of other reasons to keep your fingers out of your mouth.
Transfers Bacteria to the Mouth
Your fingers and hands touch everything while you are out in the world – grocery carts, train station turnstiles, elevator buttons, other peoples’ hands, and well, let’s face it – bathroom stuff.
While you may justify your nail biting habit by saying that you wash your hands with soap, but bacteria can linger, especially deep under your nail. By putting your fingernail into your mouth, you can easily transfer bacteria to your tongue, teeth, and gums.
Causes Damage to the Teeth and Gums
Nails are made of a hard protein substance called keratin. Some people have thick nails, and some have thin, but all nails can cause damage by chipping teeth and cutting into the gums.
May Cause Jaw Problems
Biting into anything hard can have a forceful impact on the jaw. Like other joints, jaw joints can pop into and out of alignment. Habits such as nail biting, ice chewing, and crunching hard candies may cause jaw pain or misaligned joints. Nail biting has also been linked to bruxism, or teeth grinding.
How to Stop a Nail Biting
If you are ready to give up nail biting for good, here are some tips to help out:
- Use a nasty tasting polish with a neem oil base
- Don’t submit to the habit when you notice it
- Keep nails trimmed short
- Manage stress in less damaging ways
If you have chipped a tooth because of nail biting, we offer cosmetic dentistry solutions here in our Saint Paul dental office to restore the appearance of your smile. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!