Nail biting is an incredibly common habit that impacts a multitude of people. It can occur due to boredom, stress, or many other factors. Nail biting impacts both the appearance of your nails and the health of your teeth. It is important to understand the ways in which nail biting can hurt your teeth in order to protect them from sustaining damage, preventing sensitivity, and ensure that they remain healthy and in good condition.
Things that Hurt your Teeth
There are many additional habits that can cause damage to your teeth. Many people have been warned to refrain from chewing on ice. This is due to a combination of the cold temperature and hard substance. Chewing on ice can cause cracking and damage to the teeth. Clenching the jaw, grinding the teeth, and biting nails can all hurt your teeth. Drinking soda and sugar can result in an acid attack to the enamel of the teeth, which can cause the enamel to wear down. You should never use your teeth as tools for anything aside from eating. Using your teeth to open bottles or remove tags from clothes can all cause substantial amounts of damage to the teeth.
How Nail Biting Impacts your Teeth
Nail biting has a large impact on the condition of the teeth. Teeth are intended to chew food into digestible particles, not to chew on hard substances like fingernails. When you regularly bite your nails, you are exposing your teeth to many possible types of damage.
The teeth are covered by a layer of enamel, which is a very hard substance. However, the nails are made up of keratin and when they grow, this substance hardens. When you chew on your nails, you are essentially forcing the enamel to press against the keratin. This can lead to excessive wear and cracking of the teeth.
Lead to Bruxism
Bruxism is a habit that can cause a substantial amount of damage to the teeth. Nail biting often results in some level of clenching the teeth together in stressful situations. This can form this clenching habit, even when you make a conscious effort to refrain from biting your nails. Bruxism causes wear and grinding down of the teeth, so it is important to pay attention to how you physically react to stressful situations.
Bacteria thrive on the surfaces of your hands. It is vital to ensure that you wash your hands regularly to minimize the accumulation of bacteria. However, it is still likely that bacteria linger underneath your fingernails. When you bite your nails, it allows bacteria access to your teeth. This often leads to infection or the spread of gum disease.
Wear Down the Teeth
Biting your nails causes substantial amounts of damage to your teeth. It ensures that they are exposed to excessive amounts of wear that they are not designed to withstand. It is important to refrain from placing this wear on the teeth to keep them in the best possible condition.
Damage the Gums
When you bite your fingernails, it often results in jagged edges to your nails. This can cause damage to the surface of your gums by scratching them. This, combined with the bacteria that is often present on the fingernail, can lead to infection and further issues.
Weaken the Roots
The roots of your teeth must remain strong in order for orthodontic treatment to be effective and safe. Unfortunately, when you bite your nails, it can cause shifting of the teeth. This weakens the roots of your teeth and can cause further damage.
How to Stop Biting your Nails
Due to all of these reasons, it is important to stop biting your nails. When you bite your nails, it can increase the risk of infection and lead to substantial damage to your teeth. Here are a few of the best ways to help you stop your harmful nail-biting habits.
Keep Nails Short
You are likely used to short nails if you consistently bite them. When nails grow out, it can potentially cause irritation, which can cause you to bite the nails simply to shorten them. In addition, regularly clipping your nails can substantially reduce the likelihood of biting your nails. In short, you can’t bite nails that don’t extend past the tip of your finger.
Splurge on Manicures
When you pay for a professional manicure, you will be less likely to bite your nails. You don’t want to feel as though your money has gone to waste and you’ll be far less likely to do something that will ruin the appearance of the manicure.
Implement Nail Polish
Bright colored nail polish can provide a reminder to avoid biting your nails. In addition, it will likely enhance the appearance of the nails. This can go a long way toward reducing the likelihood that you will chew on your nails. Additionally, nail polish certainly doesn’t taste pleasant. The bad taste will likely prevent you from continuing to bite your nails.
Pay Attention to your Triggers
When you find that you are biting your nails regularly, it can be extremely beneficial to pay attention to what is going on when you bite your nails. Are you biting your nails because you are bored or are you biting them because you are anxious? Understanding why you are biting your nails is the first step to eliminating your triggers.
Keep your Hands Occupied
Keeping your hands busy with other options can reduce the time that you spend biting your nails. This can be done with many different methods, including everything from using a stress ball or fidget spinner to taking a weekly yoga class or meditating. These steps can go a long way toward preventing nail biting.
Take it in Steps
It can feel overwhelming to completely quit any habit. Focus on one finger at a time when you try to stop biting your nails.
It can be difficult to break a habit, but this step can be simplified by replacing a bad habit with a good one. Chewing sugar-free gum has been shown to provide multiple benefits to the health of the teeth and can prevent you from biting your nails.
Here at Bismarck Advanced Dental Implants, we strive to ensure that your teeth remain healthy. Quitting nail-biting is important to prevent damage from occurring to your teeth. Contact us to learn more about protecting the health of your teeth.