Nail biting is one of the most common habits of humans, and the behavior is typically triggered by stress, boredom, annoyingly long fingernails, or excitement. However, at my dental office in Saint Louis, we want to warn our nail biters that this habit can also contribute to a multitude of dental and whole-body problems.
- Germs, germs, and more germs. Fingernails can hold a lot of germs and bacteria, almost twice as much as your hands. Nail biters are at increased risk for transferring those germs and dangerous bacteria into the body. What’s even scarier is that if gnawed of nails are swallowed, all that gross stuff that lives under the nail enters the body and may lead to stomach issues.
- Save some dough! According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), nail biters spend an average of $4,000 more on dental bills throughout their lives than non-biters. This is mostly due to the fact that nail biting can lead to some serious dental concerns.
- Tooth damage. Nails are hard, and when we bite them, the chance for chips and cracks greatly increases. Nail biters experience more cracks or chips in their pearly whites. Even more, nail biting can lead to bruxism, or clenching and grinding of the teeth. Bruxism itself can cause jaw pain, wear and tear on teeth, and headaches.
- Take a break! Like other parts of your body, your teeth also need to rest. Your teeth are there to help you chew and eat, but in between meals, they should take a break. If you’re a nail biter, your teeth are constantly working. This may cause them to wear down quickly or could lead to a bad bite.
- Ouch, my jaw hurts! Chronic nail biting can be detrimental for your jaw. In fact, constantly chewing your nails can cause TMJ Disorder. TMJ Disorder brings on its own set of issues like jaw pain, headaches, or popping or locking of the jaw.
At my Saint Louis dental office, we’re always here to give you the advice you need to make sure your smile and your body are healthy. If you’re a nail biter, talk to us about it. We have tips that may help you quit, we’ll examine your mouth for any signs of damage, and work with you to get your smile in its best shape.
Serving patients from Saint Louis, Affton, Webster Grove, and nearby communities.