You’ve probably been in situations that make you nervous, and you might resort to biting your nails to relieve the stress. It’s also possible that you bite your nails on a regular basis if you are usually anxious.
Stress-relieving behaviors are normal, but if you’re biting your nails consistently, you may be doing more harm to your teeth than you are to your fingers. If you’ve ever been curious about whether nail-biting could harm your tooth enamel, we have answers for you, here.
Why Is Nail-Biting Bad?
Biting your nails is a habit, and it’s one that’s hard to break. Both adults and children bite their nails on impulse, and eventually, as the behavior continues, it can become almost instinctual. What you may not know is that nail-biting damages your teeth and causes them to suffer more than they should.
When you bite your nails, you are placing pressure onto your front teeth. The increase in pressure can eventually weaken your tooth enamel, leaving it to crack or chip. It may take some time before you begin to notice the effects of nail-biting, but the stress inflicted onto your teeth will start to wear them down to an unhealthy state. Other health concerns include damaged gum tissue from jagged nails as well as an increase in the number of bacteria in the mouth from your hands.
Are You at Risk?
If you bite your nails daily, you are placing yourself at risk for larger dental issues, such as teeth-grinding and clenching (medically known as bruxism). Teeth-grinding can create concerns beyond your tooth enamel and cause facial pain, gum recession, headaches, and toothaches. Left to progress, these conditions can require both excessive and expensive dental treatment.
How Can You Break the Habit?
When you’ve bitten your nails for so long, it can be difficult to stop. But for the health of your teeth, it’s important that you reduce nail-biting as much as you can. If you have questions about the best ways to stop biting your nails, you can talk to Dr. Kohani during a one-on-one consultation and get suggestions on tactics you can use. In the meantime, there are some remedies you can employ to quit now.
- Get a manicure
If your budget allows it, you can get a manicure as a way to place a barrier in between you and your nails. Getting your nails done is also a great way to pamper yourself, and you’ll be less likely to bite your nails for fear that you’ll ruin a job well-done.
- Keep your hands busy
Because nail-biting is an instinctual habit, you probably don’t even know that you’re doing it, but if you keep your hands busy and away from your mouth, you won’t engage in bad habits. Taking up tasks, such as knitting or writing, that involve your hands are great ways to stop biting your nails.
- Keep your mouth busy
Similarly, if your mouth is idle, you may be tempted to bite your nails, but if you distract yourself, you can avoid damaging your teeth. Eating snacks or chewing sugar-free gum will keep your mouth busy and your fingers engaged elsewhere.
- Maintain healthy habits
If you believe that you are biting your nails due to stress, you might benefit from improving your lifestyle so that you can relax. Eating healthy, exercising, meditating and counseling can all aid in your wellbeing and hopefully help you cut down on nail-biting.
- Cut your nails regularly
Keeping your nails short gives you only a small area to bite. Cutting your nails can also make them look neater. If you want to prevent yourself from biting your nails on a daily basis, leave yourself with little room to do so by cutting them regularly.
Biting your nails is harmful to your teeth, but it’s a habit that you can break as long as you’re patient and persistent. If you would like more information about the ways you can improve the health of your teeth, contact La Jolla Cosmetic Dentistry & Orthodontics today and schedule a consultation with Dr. Kohani.