Nail Biting Habits

Everyone experiences stress and anxiety in their lives, whether from tests, work, managing a family, or experiencing a life-altering event. Sometimes this stress manifests as a poor habit, such as nail biting. At first, mere habits may seem harmless, but continuous nail biting can create unfortunate, expensive, and even painful side effects.

Nail biting often begins in childhood, and is most common among young girls and women. Side effects may be detrimental to oral health when nail biting occurs during developmental years and continues for long periods of time. Nail biters often wear down their tooth enamel, increase the probability of a chipped a tooth, and increase tooth sensitivity. Additionally, children, who often bite their nails, may experience a gap between their front teeth, known as a diastema.

Other side effects caused by nail biting may include:

Temporomandibular Joint disorders (TMJ)

-A tension / discomfort in the mandibular muscles

Bruxism or teeth grinding

Increase tooth sensitivity

Increase exposure to bacteria

Misalignment of teeth or bite

May encourage nervous gum picking

Increase in gingivitis

Increase in cavities

Habits are not without consequence. Nail biting habits, in excess and over the years, may damage an individual’s oral health. There are ways to help prevent nail biting, such as keeping nails short or painting finger nails with bitter or peppery products. If a child begins nail biting, encourage them to stop before further damage. For girls, offer an incentive such as to paint their nails or go for a manicure as a special treat when their nails grow in length. Click HERE to read a study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health.

Consult your dentist to discuss more options to help prevent nail biting habits from forming, or techniques dentists may recommend to stop current nail biting trends. Dr. Ash at Studio Dental Care, located in Studio City, offers general and family dentistry services for routine cleanings. Serving patients in the Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, and Burbank areas, Dr. Ash and his team provides quality services no matter the treatment. Call today to make an appointment or discuss the best plan for individualized oral care with a friendly customer care representative.

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