Nail biting is one of the most common habits for people of all ages. People who bite their nails regularly often report that they do so when they feel nervous, bored, lonely, or even hungry. Whatever your reason, though, it’s important to understand that you’re damaging far more than your nails. Here is some more information from our South Charlotte Dentist about how nail biting hurts your teeth.
The nails are one of the hardest surfaces of the body, so it should not come as a surprise that chomping down on them can apply enough force against your teeth to cause damage. Biting your nails can result erosion of the front teeth enamel, which in turn will cause sensitivity and a higher risk for cavities. More alarmingly, you can actually fracture the enamel on your teeth from excessive chewing on hard surfaces like finger nails, or even cause tiny chips.
Frequent nail biters may notice that their teeth appear squared off or worn down. If you bite your nails regularly, you may also notice increased tooth sensitivity or even pain as the tooth enamel wears away from the sensitive dentin underneath.
In some severe cases, consistent nail biting can cause Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ, a painful condition that causes jaw pain, headaches and popping or clicking of the jaw. Severe TMJ can prevent patients from opening and closing the jaw properly.
People with braces tend to experience the worst complications from nail biting, since the teeth are already being pressured into a stressed position. Biting your nails while you have braces can compromise the tooth alignment, or cause root resorption, or the process wherein the body eats away at the tooth’s root. This process is a normal and natural part of baby teeth falling out, but is very problematic when it occurs on permanent teeth.
One of the most dangerous aspects of nail biting is that it brings bacteria under your fingernails in contact with your mouth. This is problematic as it’s been shown that this space can harbor as many as 150 different species of bacteria. Allowing these bacteria into the mouth can increase your risk for illness, gum disease, bad breath, and a host of other problems.
If you need a dentist in South Charlotte NC, please give us a call, and our friendly dental staff will help create a tooth care plan for you.