Biting fingernails is a habit most often resolved during adolescence. But when nail biting becomes chronic and continues into adulthood, the patient may face many costly and time-consuming problems that will need to be resolved by their dentist.
Dental enamel is the strongest tissue in the body. But habitually biting on fingernails may eventually wear the enamel away, especially on the front teeth. Other dental related problems include teeth grinding and clenching, gingivitis, broken teeth, and gum tissue cuts.
Many patients bite their nails out of habit, boredom or stress. When stress is the underlying cause, additional dental problems may develop such as teeth grinding and clenching. Wearing a mouth guard will help alleviate subconscious grinding and clenching, but getting to the bottom of what is causing the stress may help resolve nail biting as well.
Habitual nail biters should find a way to break their addiction. Bitter nail polish may call attention to the act, which is often what is needed to break any habit. Most habitual nail biters would stop, but they bite or chew their nails subconsciously.
Boredom is often given as a reason to bite nails. Finding an alternative to nail biting when boredom is the reason should be the easiest to overcome.
Nail biting can cause several dental issues, including:
- Front teeth damage – Most nail biters use the front upper and lower teeth. The constant pressure applied to those teeth can result in worn enamel, chipped or broken teeth.
- Gum tissue damage – Jagged fingernails can cut gum tissue. Not only is there concern for the germs being passed from the hands to the mouth, but imagine all the germs from the mouth that can be passed along to broken skin around fingernails.
- Gingivitis – Also known as the first stage of gum disease, gingivitis is a bacterial based condition that often gets its start from plaque build-up. But injury to gum tissue and the introduction of bacteria can result in gum disease.
Nail biting is unhygienic and has no redeeming features. If there are psychological causes such as stress, getting to the underlying problem can be critical to one’s overall health. But sacrificing good dental health with this habit can be costly, time-consuming, and certainly worth the effort to quit.
If nail biting is a habit you wish to break, contact our dental team at Fielder Park Dental today. Call 817-275-4817 to schedule an appointment.