Nail-biting habits can begin in childhood and worsen in situations of heightened stress. The behavior may seem harmless, but continued biting down on hard fingernails can harm your teeth and gums over time.
Your dentist can offer advice on how to break this habit. But understanding the risks of this behavior can also help you avoid this behavior. Read on to find three reasons why you should stop biting your nails and protect your oral health.
3 Ways That Nail Biting Hurts Your Teeth
Risk of Tooth Breakage
Your teeth are durable and withstand wear and tear on a regular basis without issue as you chew food. But biting down on hard items like fingernails generates abnormally high pressure.
This puts your teeth at risk of cracking, chipping, or fracturing. These injuries will deter the look of your smile while also heightening your risk of oral infections. Dentists consider this tooth breakage to be a dental emergency that should receive urgent treatment to protect your smile.
Your dentist can repair and restore your tooth after these injuries using a dental crown, tooth bonding, or porcelain veneers. However, you can preserve the natural structure of your teeth by avoiding this risk and ceasing nail-biting behavior.
Creating Bite Problems and Crooked Teeth
Not only can biting your nails lead to structural damage to your teeth, but it can impact their position in your smile. Biting down on hard items can cause teeth to shift out of alignment and make them crooked or have gaps.
This affects the appearance of your smile but can also give you other oral health problems. Misaligned teeth may mean you cannot close your mouth properly when you bite down. This may lead to tension in muscles in the jaw, giving patients temporomandibular joint disorders that can make it difficult to complete oral functions.
Patients can seek teeth straightening treatment from their dentist with Invisalign. Gradually, these aligners can align a patient’s smile, but you can help keep your teeth in their position when you stop biting your nails.
Introducing Harmful Particles to Your Mouth
We use our hands to interact with the world around us, which means our hands can accumulate germs, bacteria, viruses, and many more particles. You may wash your hands or use sanitizer regularly. But when you bring your hands to your mouth, the lingering substances on your hands will enter your body.
Germs can make you sick, but these particles will also put your oral health in danger. Bacteria from your fingernails can infect your gum tissue and make them inflamed. Periodontal disease requires treatment from a dentist to eradicate and can cause irreversible dental damage if left untreated.
Good hand and oral hygiene can keep bacteria and these other particles from impacting your smile. But you can prevent more damage by keeping your hands away from your mouth and stopping a nail-biting habit. If you are having trouble ceasing this behavior, ask your dentist for advice.