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Is Nail Biting a Dental Problem?

Also called onychophagia, nail biting is a common habit for lots of people, usually children, teens, and young adults. Often, nail biting is caused by stress and seems to wane as people get older. Though some would argue that it’s not as bad as smoking or other less desirable habits, there are several reasons to stop nail biting:

It’s unsanitary. Did you know that your mouth and your hands/nails are two of the germiest areas on your body? If you have any open sores on your fingertips and you bite your nails, the germs from your mouth spread to that area. Pretty gross if you think about it.

It’s unattractive. Nobody really wants to watch someone bite their nails. As well, it doesn’t make your nails look very nice either.

It hurts your teeth. When you bite your nails, it strains front teeth and can weaken them, which may contribute to misalignment or crookedness. Nail biting also keeps your teeth in constant chewing motion and may wear them down faster than if you didn’t bite your nails.

It can cost you money. The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that nail biting may add $4000 to dental bills over a lifetime.

Stopping any habit can be difficult. To curtail your nail biting, try to:

  1. Think about it. Sometimes, just be conscious of this habit can help you stop.
  2. Make your nails look nice. You won’t want to mess them up if they are neatly manicured.
  3. Create a deterrent. Check at the drug store for colorless, odorless solutions you apply to the
    nails. These topicals taste awful, which should make it easier to quit.

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