Nail Biting is Bad for Your Nails – Worse for Your Teeth

DSC_0070-1Two months after the New Year you may be evaluating your progress on your New Year’s resolutions. Have you lost that weight? Stopped driving and texting? And what about quitting those bad habits? Most of the times it’s the big ones, smoking, cursing, but what about those little bad habits like biting your finger nails? If you think that nail biting is a victimless crime, think again.

You may be surprised to know how bad being your own oral manicurist is for your teeth. Your nails are hard, harder than almost anything else you’re likely to be chewing on and your teeth simply can’t handle it, especially your front teeth. Your front teeth are a lot different than your back in terms of function. Your back teeth are designed for grinding down food, whereas your front teeth are for gnawing and chewing. When you use your front teeth on biting through your nails you run the risk of chipping and damaging your teeth requiring a restoration like porcelain veneers or dental implants. Not only that but the sharp edges of the nail can tear into your gum lines cutting and damaging them.

Consider also the plain aspect of sanitation. Think of everything that gets under your nails, dirt, grime and other unmentionable sources of bacteria can get into your mouth and lead to all sorts of health problems. Considering the open lesions on your gum lines from the finger nail chewing, bacteria has an open invitation to your blood stream. If that’s still not enough, a study from the Academy of General Dentistry estimated that nail biters can spend up to $4,000 a year more on dentistry bills than non-nail biters.

There are a few tricks for kicking this nasty habit. And by the way, don’t feel like you’re the only one. A huge percentage of people do this, mostly as a nervous habit. Try to take note of your triggers. Determine what gets you nervous or agitated enough to start biting your nails. While you may not be able to get rid of these triggers you can at least be aware of them. Try carrying around nail clippers if you can. If you keep them trimmed you can’t very well bite them. Also consider getting a manicure or painting your nails, you’re less likely to chew something you’re spending money on to look nice.

Lastly, remember the Number One method to quitting a bad habit is to acknowledge that you have one in the first place. That in itself is half the battle.

If your teeth are chipped or damaged from nail biting or just normal wear and tear, Dr. Dan Matthews, an Austin Dentist, can help. Dr. Matthews can perform cosmetic dentistry procedures that will restore your teeth and give you the smile you have always wanted. Contact him today for a free consultation.