Nail biting is a bad habit that often begins early in life as a response to stress or boredom, or sometimes as a subconscious reaction to nervousness. While the habit tends to fade as we get older, it’s estimated that about 30% of people continue to gnaw on their nails into adulthood. At our dental office in El Paso, we know that nail biting is more than a bad habit. To us, it’s about all of the negative effects nail biting can have on teeth and overall oral health.
Your nails are one of the areas on your body where you can find tons of germs and bacteria. Usually wedged in between the nail and the skin of your finger, these germs and bacteria can be pretty harmful if ingested into your system. When someone puts their finger in their mouth and bites away at the nail, it’s an easy way for these bacteria to be released into the body which could lead to some serious illnesses.
Besides the risk to overall health, nail biting can wreak havoc on teeth and gums. Your dentist in El Paso will tell you that chronic nail biting has been linked several oral health issues including chipped, cracked, or worn down teeth, damage to the gum tissue, and bruxism. Bruxism, more commonly known as tooth grinding, can lead to headaches, recessed gums, tooth sensitivity, and even tooth loss.
Like any habit, stopping nail biting can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Trying to retrain yourself to quit nibbling on your nails takes a conscious effort. These tips can help.
Paint your nails with an ill-tasting lacquer designed specifically for nail biters
Find another release for stress like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or exercise
Check out close up photos of the bacteria that live under nails to remind you of what you could be putting in your mouth whenever you bite — spoiler alert: it’s gross!
Keep nails trimmed as short as possible to give yourself less to bite
Start by trying one of the above methods to quit biting your nails. If it doesn’t work for you, try another one. It may take persistence but once you quit biting your nails, your overall health and oral health will thank you.
In the meantime, if you happen to chip or crack a tooth, have gum damage, or suspect bruxism we welcome you to schedule an appointment at our El Paso dental office. We’ll diagnose the damage and talk with you about the most appropriate treatment for you.
Accepting patients from El Paso, Las Cruces, Cloudcroft and beyond.
He was excellent and pulled my wisdom tooth in less than 2 min. w/o chipping it. The service was good too.
Great dentist experience! While they do take my insurance, unfortunately, they are not part of my network, however, I liked them so much I will continue to see them.
We were very impressed with the helpful and friendly staff at this dental office.
I was very impressed and thankful with the service provided.
I’m 60 years old and I hated to go to the dentist, and put off going for a long time. But let me tell you Dr. Rizk is the best dentist I’ve ever had. I would of gone years ago. A no pain Dr. – thank you!
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