Do you inevitably chew on your fingernails when you feel nervous or stressed? Perhaps you don't even notice you're doing it. While it may not seem like a big deal, biting your nails has many consequences that affect your oral health.
An Increased Risk for Bruxism
Bruxism, or grinding your teeth often occurs at night while you sleep, and it causes a host of issues including excessive wear to your teeth and painful issues with your jaw joint. Recent information tells us that patients who bite their nails are often at a greater risk for bruxism. Wearing a night guard can help protect your teeth from the damage that bruxism causes.
The Other Risks of Nail Biting
Biting your nails causes other issues for your teeth such as tiny micro fractures that will eventually spread and cause bigger fractures in your teeth.
Jagged nails can cause injuries to your delicate gum tissue.
Chewing on your fingernails also spreads bacteria into your mouth that can travel to other areas of your body.
Since orthodontic treatment puts a lot of pressure on your teeth and their roots, patients who are wearing braces and biting their nails are also putting additional pressure on their teeth that can lead to root resorption or short roots.
How Can I Stop Biting My Finger Nails?
There are a few things you can do to help you break the habit of biting your nails and protect your oral health.
- Cut your nails short.
- Use a bad tasting top coat or polish that reminds you to quit.
- Keep your hands and mouth busy with other things such as chewing sugarless gum or squeezing a stress ball.
- Get yourself a manicure - perhaps if they look nice, you won't chew on them.
Call Your Lafayette Dentist
If you have questions about nail-biting and your oral health, or you need more guidance for quitting, your 70508 dentists can help! Give Drs. Smith and Domingue a call today.