Nail Biting May Lead to Dental Issues

Nail biting is a common habit among children and young adults, and is considered a classic sign of worry and stress. Many people bite their nails subconsciously, which can in turn have a damaging effect on the cuticle. However, nail biting can also lead to a range of dental issues.

The American Dental Association advises that patients should avoid nail biting wherever possible, and continued nail biting can lead to such problems as bruxism, as well as increasing the likelihood of chipped or damaged tooth enamel and heightened tooth sensitivity.

Bruxism is a condition where the sufferer subconsciously grinds or clenches their teeth together. It is often caused by stress and people who bite their nails when worried or stressed could increase their chances of suffering from the condition, as the pressure exerted by the teeth during nail biting can cause changes in the jaw’s alignment and balance.

…nail biting can also lead to a range of dental issues.

If left untreated by a dentist, bruxism can inflict severe facial pain, headaches and sensitive teeth due to tooth enamel becoming chipped, worn or damaged. However, a dentist can recommend a range of treatments to help with bruxism, from specially designed mouthguards to relaxation therapies, and even surgery.

Nail biting affects many people; those people who do bite their nails also increase their chances of inadvertently cutting the gum tissue with sharp nail edges. These cuts can lead to sores and infection, as the lacerations allow bacteria in the mouth to enter the tissue. Bacteria from other parts of the body could also be spread into the mouth and then into the bloodstream as a result of nail biting.

Additional dangers exist for those who wear braces, as nail biting can lead to root resorption. This is where the tooth’s roots begin to decrease in length, and can lead to teeth becoming loose, and eventually lost.

While a dentist can utilize several dentistry techniques to repair much of the damage caused by nail biting, the habit remains both unattractive, not only because of the aesthetic effect doing so leaves on the appearance of your nails, but also the potential damage to your teeth and overall dental health.

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