Nail biting might seem harmless, but it’s a habit that can silently damage more than just your nails. Your oral health is also at risk. In this post, we’ll explore the overlooked consequences of this habit and why it’s crucial to break it for the sake of your dental health.

1. Increased risk of gingivitis

Nail biting can increase the risk of developing gingivitis. The constant contact between the nails and the gums can introduce bacteria and irritants, leading to gum damage over time. 

2. Increased sensitivity

Nail biting can erode tooth enamel, making teeth more sensitive. The repeated friction between teeth and nails wears away enamel, exposing the sensitive dentin beneath. This can lead to discomfort, especially with hot, cold, or acidic foods. 

3. Risk of chips and cracks

Nail biting poses a risk of causing chips or cracks in your teeth due to the constant pressure and stress applied to them. The repetitive motion of biting down on hard nails can lead to structural damage over time. Additionally, the force exerted during nail biting can exceed the teeth’s natural strength, resulting in fractures or breaks. These chips or cracks can affect the look of your smile and increase the risk of further dental complications, such as tooth decay or infection. 

4. Increased risk of misalignment and gaps

Nail biting can result in misalignment (malocclusion) or gaps between teeth. The repetitive pressure from biting can disrupt tooth alignment, causing irregular positioning or overcrowding. Additionally, teeth may shift out of place, creating gaps. Early intervention to address nail biting can prevent these issues, promoting a healthier smile.

5. More prone to teeth grinding

Research suggests that nail biters are more prone to teeth grinding (bruxism) since both habits share similar underlying psychological factors, such as stress and anxiety. Additionally, the repetitive motion of nail biting can potentially train the jaw muscles to clench more tightly, exacerbating bruxism symptoms. 

It’s important to understand how nail biting can harm your mouth. You can always ask your dentist for advice about how to stop the habit and take better care of your oral health. To book your next appointment, call us at (617) 332-2872 or fill out our online appointment form.

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