Whether you’re stressed, excited or bored, biting nails is a very common habit among kids and adults of all ages. Although it is more common among children ages 10 to 18, studies have shown that 30% of children and 15% of adults are nail biters. The good news is that most people drop the habit by age 30.
If you haven’t dropped your nail chewing habit or have concerns about its effect on your teeth, here are a few reasons you may want to stop:
You’ve heard the line biting your nails is a dirty habit? It actually is… Bacteria and germs live underneath your nails and have almost double the dirt than your fingers. Consuming the dirt from your nails too often can result in stomach issues down the road.
It Wears Down Your Teeth
Chewing on your nails adds unnecessary stress to your teeth and actually can cause them to weaken and chip over time. In extreme cases, it can even move teeth resulting in a crooked smile.
It Slows Down Your Orthodontic Treatment
Biting your nails with braces on your teeth adds pressure to individual teeth and can weaken the roots. It also can bend wires and knock brackets off teeth causing teeth to move in the wrong direction and create emergency visits further delaying treatment time.
We’re Here to Help
At Greater Houston Orthodontics, we’re familiar with bad habits such as nail biting and do our best to present a judge-free environment for our patients. To help kick your gnawing habit, our team recommends the following:
• Keep your nails short and trim them regularly. It’s hard to chew when there’s not much to work with.
• Paint your nails with a nail polish that tastes bitter. The taste should keep you from coming back for more.
• Use a mouth guard. It keeps you from biting and could make for a better night’s sleep.
• Use the rubber band method. Place a rubber band around your wrist and snap it whenever you feel yourself wanting to bite your nails.
• Find your trigger. Think about why you chew your nails so that you can know what to look for and find a solution.
It is important to remember that you are not alone in your struggle with nail-biting if it creates an adverse effect on your teeth. Contact our Memorial or West University office today to schedule a free smile exam for more information on the effect it’s having on your teeth and information on how to stop causing more damage to your smile. We are always here to help!