Nail biting not only affects the appearance of your nails, but can chip, crack, or break your teeth. It can even cause jaw problems. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), reported that people who bite their nails are at increased risk for bruxism, or tooth grinding.
Of course, don’t forget your hands and nails are a host for germs and bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli which can be easily transferred into the body through nail biting.
The following tips can help you break the habit to protect your teeth and overall health.
- Keep your nails trimmed short.
- Apply something with a bitter-taste to your nails. You can purchase safe over-the-counter products to apply to your nails.
- Get regular manicures. If your nails look nice, you may not want to ruin them by biting.
- Try playing with a stress ball or silly putty instead to keep your hands busy and away from your mouth.
- Identify what triggers you to bite your nails. For example, boredom, stress, or anxiety. Knowing when you are most likely to bite may help you to stop.
- Some doctors recommend small steps to break the habit. Try to stop biting one set of nails, such as your thumb nails. When that’s successful, choose your pinky nails etc. Keep trying until you no longer bite any of your nails.
If you experience a chipped tooth or sensitive gums due to nail biting, please call Yahara Dental at 608-873-7277 to schedule an appointment.