Many of us have nervous habits that we do without even realizing it. From fidgeting to cracking your knuckles to biting your nails, these behaviors maybe seem like a harmless way to relieve some tension. However, if you’re a chronic nail biter, beware! Not only does biting your nails ruin a manicure, it can also be harmful to your teeth and cause a variety of problems.
The number one danger of biting your nails is the potential to chip your teeth. Many folks accidentally crack or chip a tooth as they bite down on their nail. Dr. Arora and Dr. Patel often see patients who have tiny chips on their front teeth resulting from years of nail biting. Even worse, the long-term damage to the enamel on your teeth from biting your nails weakens your teeth and makes it easier for cavities to develop.
In more severe cases, nail biting can cause TMJ disorder. This is a result of the extra stress placed on your teeth as you repeatedly bite your nails. TMJ disorder causes problems opening and closing your mouth, along with jaw pain, headaches, and popping or clicking of the jaw.
If you have braces, you should be especially careful. Braces already place your teeth under stress as they realign them. If you’re biting you nails while you wear braces, you’re at an increased risk to damage your teeth or develop TMJ.
If the possibility of damaging your teeth by biting them doesn’t discourage you, consider this: think about all the things you touch throughout the day. Your hands and the space under your nails harbor many different species of bacteria. By biting your nails, you’re spreading this bacteria to your mouth, which can cause bad breath, gum infections, and many other problems.
Breaking the Habit
Of course, we understand that habits can be hard to break! Many folks grow out of biting their nails as they get older, but there are plenty of tricks you can try to kick the habit. For example, make sure your nails are short and neatly filed, invest in a manicure so you’re less likely to bite, or even try using a specialty nail polish that tastes bad to discourage yourself from chewing on your nails.
If you bite your nails and you notice any problems like the ones listed above, call our office today. It is much easier for Dr. Arora and Dr. Patel to treat these issues if they can detect them early. Schedule your next appointment by calling (708) 448-7588 or using our online form.