Does Biting Your Nails Impact Your Oral Health?

Posted on: 28 June 2016

You may hear people to tell you to stop biting your nails. It is a nasty habit and affects your teeth. How right are they? Is it possible that biting nails can really affect your teeth and dental health? Here are four ways in which biting your nails affects your oral health.

1. Cracking and Chipping Teeth

The Academy of General Dentistry states that the teeth are more likely to chip or crack due to nail biting. Teeth are designed to chew food and that's all. Using them for other needs will damage them, because they are not strong enough for these uses.

Chips and cracks may seem minor at first, but they get worse over time. Think of a chip in the windscreen of a car. If you go over a speed bump or pot hole, the chip can turn into a crack. The glass is weakened and this leads to the glass potentially shattering. The same applies to the teeth. They are weakened by the chip or crack, and this can lead to tooth loss and pain if the crack reaches the root.

2. Grinding of the Teeth

Those who bite or chew their nails are also at a higher risk of developing bruxism. Bruxism is a condition known more commonly as teeth grinding and usually happens at night when your subconscious takes over. You may wake up with pain the jaw, headache, or neck pain.

Grinding the teeth also leads to flat spots and chipping. The enamel is worn away, increasing the risk of tooth decay.

3. Gum Damage

Your gums are more likely to be damaged due to nail biting. You run the risk of your finger slipping and cutting your gums, leading to bleeding and a higher risk of gum disease. This has an adverse effect on your teeth and overall health because you will get bacteria in the gums that is hard to remove, so your gum disease will get worse over time.

4. Root Resorption

Those who are currently undergoing dental treatment like braces will find that root resorption is more common. The teeth are already undergoing strain and biting your nails makes it worse. The bone surrounding the teeth dissolves the roots, which weakens the base and increases the risk of tooth loss.

Nail biting is a bad habit that can wreak havoc on your teeth. If you notice any cracking or chipping or if you have any other questions, schedule an appointment with your local dentist