Nail Biting

May 23, 2019

How Biting Nails Nails Teeth

At Utah Orthodontic Care, our mission is to make it easy and affordable for anyone in the greater Salt Lake City area to achieve a new smile through orthodontic treatment. But straightening your teeth with braces or Invisalign is just one aspect of improving your smile, and equally important is the way you care for your teeth at home. Oral hygiene is the first step to safeguarding your smile, but there’s one habit that may be undermining you even if your brush and floss perfectly: nail biting.

Why Biting Your Nails Can Harm Teeth

Nail biting is among the most common nervous habits, but it can have more consequences than people realize. Biting your nails can have significant, long-term effects on the health of the teeth, mouth, and the body as a whole. So what’s so bad about nail biting? Here are just a few of the dangers:

  • Tooth Damage: Fundamentally, the teeth aren’t designed to bite into anything other than food. When they chew on the hard keratin in fingernails, it can weaken the enamel of the teeth, leading to problems like tooth sensitivity, dental decay, and even chipped, cracked, or broken teeth.
  • Jaw Joint Issues: Frequently biting your nails can cause tension to accumulate in the muscles around the jaw joint, and often, that can lead to bruxism, or nightly teeth grinding. Combined, these conditions can produce TMJ (jaw joint) pain.
  • Germ Exposure: Even if well-kempt, fingernails are a hotbed for dirt and bacteria. If you bite your nails, you’re exposing your mouth and gums to this bacteria, which can increase your risk of sickness and of gum disease.
  • Infection: Finally, nail biting increases the risk of a condition called paronychia. This is an infection of the nails, and it can cause redness, irritation, and even pus-filled boils to form around the infected nail.

Schedule a Free Consultation for Braces in Salt Lake City

Biting your nails may seem harmless at first, but the truth is, there are a host of dental and general health problems that nail biting can cause. Quitting the habit of nail biting is a powerful choice you can make to improve the health of your smile – and so is orthodontic treatment. Take the next step towards a beautiful, healthy smile and request a free consultation online at one of our convenient locations. We can’t wait to hear from you, and we look forward to helping you achieve your dream smile!