Nail biting is a very common habit. It may occur as an outlet for stress or simply as a response to boredom. Taking the appropriate steps to stop nail biting can provide an array of benefits to both your teeth and the condition of your nails.
Habits that Hurt your Teeth
There are many extremely common habits that can cause damage to the health of your teeth. Many people clench their jaws or grind their teeth in response to stressful situations. This can causes excessive amounts of wear to the teeth, which can easily lead to damage. Many people use their teeth as tools, when they are only intended to chew food. If you use your teeth to open bottles or rip off clothing tags, you can cause them to chip or otherwise sustain damage. Nail biting and excessive consumption of sugar can all result in damage to the teeth.
How Nail Biting Hurts your Smile
Your nails are formed from an incredibly strong substance. When you bite your nails, you are forcing the enamel layer of the teeth to combat the hardened layer of your nails. Though your teeth are often able to break through your nails, the consistent biting of your nails can still cause damage and wear to the teeth.
Wearing and Cracking
The regular exposure to the added pressure of biting your teeth can easily lead to the teeth wearing down over time. As they wear down, they will likely weaken a substantial amount, which results in them being far more vulnerable to damage. This can allow them to crack easily, which can cause escalated issues with your oral health.
Bruxism causes damage to your teeth, because it occurs when you frequently or consistently grind your teeth together. When you bite your nails, you are training your jaw to respond in that manner when you experience stressful situations. Then, even when you try to stop biting your nails, it is possible that you will still grind your teeth when you experience stress. Biting your nails makes you more vulnerable to developing bruxism and causing further damage to your teeth.
The hands are one of the easiest areas for bacteria to accumulate. When you bite your nails, you are allowing all of the bacteria that have accumulated on your hands to enter into your mouth. Not only is this an open orifice that will make you more susceptible to illness, but it can also lead to increased chances that you will have an infection or develop gum disease. One of the most important steps to take to protect your teeth is to remove bacteria from your smile. When you bite your nails, you are countering these steps and negating your efforts.
Weaken Tooth Roots
When you bite your nails, you are putting unnecessary pressure on them. This can cause them to shift slightly out of place or move. When they move, the roots that anchor the teeth to the gums weaken. This can have an incredibly detrimental impact on orthodontic processes that require strong roots. When you have braces, they are consistently subjecting your teeth to gentle pressure to move them into the appropriate position. When you bite on your nails, you are adding to this pressure, which can cause substantial amounts of damage. Stopping nail biting habits can prevent this damage from occurring.
Chewing on the nails causes them to break unevenly, as teeth are not intended to clip nails. This uneven breakage often results in sharp, jagged edges. These edges often cause scratches, scrapes, and cuts over the surface of the gums. Not only can these cause surface damage, but they can provide an opening for bacteria to enter, which raises the risk of gum disease.
Tips for Stopping Nail Biting
Nail biting can lead to substantial amounts of damage to your teeth. It can also cause damage to the nails, as well as be a source of embarrassment. Following the right methods can help you to effectively stop biting your nails and prevent this habit from damaging your smile.
Appropriate Nail Maintenance
Maintaining your nails can go a long way toward helping you stop biting them. When you put effort or money into manicures, you will not want to ruin their appearance. In addition, nail polish often tastes incredibly bad, which will likely stop you from biting your nails. It can be similarly useful to keep your nails short. When they are short, there simply won’t be anything available for you to chew on.
Learn your Triggers
It is vital to pay attention to your surroundings and emotions when you find that you are biting your nails. This will help you to learn what your triggers are. Knowing your triggers can help you to avoid them or develop alternative coping mechanisms. These methods can go a long way toward reducing the time that you spend biting your nails and can help you to quit biting your nails once and for all.
Find Alternative Behaviors
Taking steps to find alternative mechanisms to handle your stress can go a long way toward reducing your nail-biting tendencies. This can be done in a variety of ways. In the moment, using a stress ball or playing with a fidget spinner can help to prevent you from biting your nails. More intensive steps, such as beginning meditation or taking a yoga class, can help to reduce your overall stress levels.
It is important to stop biting your nails to protect the health of your teeth. These steps can both protect the health of your teeth and improve the appearance of your nails. Here at Mount Ogden Dental, we strive to provide you with the services that you need to ensure that your teeth remain healthy and your smile remains beautiful. From regular dental visits to repairing damage, you need look no further than our office. To learn more about the services that we offer, contact our experts today!