Nail-biting is a common habit among children and adults. Around 20 to 30 percent of the population are nail biters; 45 percent of them are teenagers. This chronic habit can be hard to explain, but it’s important to try and get rid of it.
This is because not only does nail-biting damage your nails; it also affects your teeth. These are some ways biting your nails can lead to dental problems.
Enamel Erosion and Cracks
Nail-biting can cause the enamel of your teeth to erode, leading to sensitivity. This means your teeth would hurt every time you eat something hot or cold. Enamel erosion exposes the dentin, a hard layer underneath yellowish in color. The pressure on your teeth when biting your nails can also cause your teeth to get chipped or lead to fractures, making them appear cracked. This happens especially with chronic nail-biting. This is an even bigger risk for people with braces, because wire braces already put a lot of pressure on your teeth.
Malocclusion and Gaps
The constant grinding of your teeth as you bite your nails can actually cause them to move, causing malocclusion. This means that your teeth won’t be aligned when you close your mouth. Other than an uneven bite, the movement of teeth can create gaps in between them. Nail-biting can also lead to chronic habit of grinding your teeth, which leads to even more damage.
Infections and Receding Gums
Our hands have different types of bacteria, especially under our fingernails. Nail-biting transfers all those germs from your hands into your mouth. This can cause infections in your gums, such as gingivitis. The rough edges of your nails can also tear the tissue in your gums, exposing them to bacteria and increasing the risk of infection.
What Can You Do?
Since breaking the habit of biting your nails is so difficult, seeking professional help might be a good idea. If the enamel on your teeth has been damaged, you can opt for dental veneers provided by the best dentist in Bethesda to make your teeth stronger and protect them from further damage.
It is also important to make sure that any infections or tooth fractures you have is treated. If nail-biting has damaged your teeth, you might also require dental surgery.
Take the first step toward a bright, confident smile and call us at (301) 654-1887.