Biting your nails isn’t just bad for the look of your nails and hands, it can also damage your teeth. Regularly biting your nails can cause your teeth to move out of place. In addition, nail-biting could potentially cause teeth to break or tooth enamel to splinter.
People who bite their fingernails when stressed, chew on a pencil if nervous, or clench their jaw during sports competitions could also be at greater risk for bruxism, according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Bruxism technically refers to the unintentional grinding or clenching of teeth. This clenching or grinding can cause a myriad of other issues including facial pain and headaches.
Nail biting can also:
- Contribute to skin infections
- Aggravate existing conditions of the nail bed
- Increase the risk of colds and other infections by encouraging the spread of germs from the nails and fingers to the lips and mouth
To stop nail-biting:
- Avoid factors that trigger nail biting, such as boredom
- Find healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety
- Keep your nails neatly trimmed or manicured
- Consider using bad-tasting nail polish
- Occupy your hands or mouth with alternate activities, such as playing a musical instrument or chewing sugar-free gum
In some cases, behavior therapy to stop nail-biting might be warranted.
So stop the biting and keep those hands, nails and teeth happy!