The Effects Of Nail Biting On Your Teeth

While nail biting is not as common with adults, approximately 60% of children and 45% of teenagers have this bad habit. Nail biting can not only make a person's fingers look bad but also lead to dental problems. If this is a problem that affects you or a family member, you should be aware that cosmetic dental work might be needed as a result.

How does nail biting affect teeth?

There is no clear answer that explains why people bite their nails, but many people do it because they are anxious. Others do this because they get bored. The medical name for this condition is onychophagia, and it can lead to several problems with the teeth. It:

  • Wears down the teeth – Each time you bite your nails, you are causing the enamel on your teeth to slowly wear down. Over time, this could lead to cavities and other oral issues. In the future, you may end up needing dental crowns or veneers for your teeth because of this.
  • Causes teeth to shift – The stress of biting on hard fingernails can actually cause your teeth to move, and this will leave you with unaligned teeth.
  • Disrupts orthodontic treatment – If you currently have braces, biting your nails can impair the process of shifting your teeth into proper alignment, meaning that you may need braces longer. If you already had braces, biting your nails can cause the teeth to shift out of alignment much faster than normal.
  • Creates jaw problems – All of these issues can also cause jaw problems, such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

If you continue to bite your nails for many years, you may find yourself in the office of a cosmetic dentist, needing procedures to correct the problems you created from this bad habit.

What are the other effects of this habit?

In addition to needed dental work to correct the problems, you should be aware that biting your teeth is unsanitary. This is because your hands and fingers contain germs, and a lot of these germs live underneath the fingernails.

Over time, this habit could make you sick and leave you with problems with your teeth, and all of these issues could cost you a lot of money.

If you are already experiencing problems from biting your nails, you may want to consider making an appointment with a cosmetic dentist like those at Artistic Dentistry by Gerard Wasselle, DMD to see what can be done to fix your teeth.