Nail biting is a common habit that can be quite difficult to stop. This habit can have some potentially severe consequences, such as; affecting the digestion system if you swallow the nails, risk of infection and pain if you are biting the nails too short, and increasing the risk of ingesting harmful viruses and bacteria. Additionally, it may also be impacting your smile.
Nail Biting and the Effects on Your Smile
The act of chewing or biting on fingernails is strongly discouraged by dentists. When using the teeth to bite down on non-food items, you put your smile at risk of chipping or fracturing the teeth. Nails may seem like a soft substance to bite on, but this can have serious consequences on your teeth over time.
Damage to the Enamel of the Teeth
As a result of nail-biting, you may damage the enamel of your teeth. This critical layer of the tooth gives it strength and is the outer layer of protection. Once your enamel wears away, it is gone. It never “grows” back. Missing or damaged enamel can cause several serious dental issues.
Nail biters are at a higher risk for gum disease, gingivitis. Over time exposing the gum tissue to sharp objects, like nails, can cause the gums to be more exposed to harmful bacteria. This can lead to gum health issues.
Jaw and Teeth Alignment Issues
The constant biting down can cause jaw issues and even teeth alignment problems. Your teeth may begin to shift from this ongoing abnormal wear and tear. It also puts unneeded stress on the jaw, which may lead to pain.
Your Hands are Dirty
Unless you are thoroughly washing your hands and scrubbing under the fingernails before chewing on them, you are ingesting a lot of additional germs. Our hands are dirty. We touch many surfaces and objects constantly. By regularly inserting the fingers into your mouth, you increase your risk of encountering harmful germs.
Stop Nail Biting Today
If you are a nail biter today is the day to quit or at least try. This can be a very hard habit to overcome as many of us do it without knowing it. A good tip to quit is to put bad tastings things under the fingernails, such as hot sauce. This can discourage you from chewing on the nails if the taste is unpleasant.