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The Many Ways a Nail Biting Habit Affects Your Teeth

Nail biting is a notoriously bad habit but it’s also a common one. You may be stuck in this habit, yourself. While there are worse things than nail biting, you may not realize just how bad it is.

Your nail-biting habit can seriously negatively impact your oral health. Here are some possible consequences your habit can have.

Nail Biting Transfers Germs

A very good reason to avoid nail biting is the fact that this dirty habit introduces bacterial germs to your mouth. There is a variety of bacteria responsible for gum disease, cavities, and infected wounds. The more you transfer to your mouth via your fingernails, the more likely you are to get sick or develop a serious infection in your mouth. Mouth ulcers is just one of the many conditions that may result.

Teeth Fractured by Nail Biting

Biting your nails can lead to cracked teeth. If you have very tough nails that only get harder with each year that your biting habit persists, then they can indeed become damaging to your enamel.

Chewing with your upper and lower front teeth together puts an unnatural force on the enamel edges. Over time, your teeth can weaken and start to chip away.

Jaw mis-alignment and pain

To neatly bite off a piece of your fingernail, your upper and lower front teeth need to align edge-to-edge. This is not a natural position for your jaw. It’s a useful function, on occasion, but it puts a strain on the joint in your jaw. A lifetime of nail biting can lead to pain and dysfunction.

Slows Braces Treatment

If you currently wear braces biting your fingernails could be interfering with your treatment. All the progress you’ve made so far can be lost if you have a habit of constantly putting pressure against your teeth.

Tooth Root Damage Caused by Nail Biting

The pressure needed to bite off your fingernails is bad for your tooth enamel and jaw, as explained above. It’s also bad for the roots of your teeth.

A habit of chewing on anything can put uneven pressure on your teeth and cause the roots to start slowly moving through the bone. This pressure can even make them resorb or dissolve.

Kids are very prone to this phenomenon since their teeth move easily through the immature bone tissue. That’s why nail-biting in the early years can lead to tooth alignment problems.

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Produced by WDI