About 20-30% of the population are nail biters. To be blunt; it’s a habit. Each person has their own reasons for biting. It’s not a habit to take lightly. This compulsive behavior has negative effects on a person’s physical health. It’s best to get rid of this habit as soon as possible.
Why People Bite Their Nails
Often times children begin biting their nails because their parents are nail biters. Growing up, kids can mimic what their parents do; even their habits. Other times, people bite due to emotional or mental stress. They could be biting mindlessly to cope with their emotions and feelings. Often times, it’s as simple as a reflex people go to when they are bored. They do it without even realizing.
How Nail Biting Impacts Your Teeth
Chronic nail biting can lead to chips, cracks, and even erosion of the teeth. By grinding teeth against nails, enamel begins wearing away. Furthermore, straight teeth can be moved over time causing issues with a person’s bite.
Not only are your teeth affected, but so are your gums. There are more dirt and bacteria under your fingernails than you know. Learn more about what lives under your nails here. All of the germs that get trapped under our nails get instantly transferred to our mouths when we chew on our nails. This can result in gum diseases like gingivitis.
Tips to Stop Biting
- Keep your nails as short as possible – with no nail to grab; theirs no reason to bite. You are less likely to feel any satisfaction from biting.
- Use a nail bite deterrent – Their are special formulas you can coat your nails with, just like you would with nail polish, that keep you from biting. They work by putting a really bad taste in your mouth if you try to bite your nails.
- Work on the root cause – Pay attention to when you start to bite your nails. For example, if you find yourself biting when you feel stressed, then you should find a more effective way to cope with that cause. This way, you will be much less likely to bite your nails, seeing that you are less stressed.
- Use fidget toys – If you keep your hands busy, they’ll likely stay away from your mouth. Investing in a fidget toy might work for you.
If you’re a nail-biter, feel free to contact our dental office today to schedule an appointment. The health of your teeth matters to us, too.