How Does Nail Biting Affect Oral Health?

If you started biting your nails as a child and continue to this day, you likely already know that it’s a bad habit. But did you know that nail biting can also impact your oral health? We will review the multiple oral health issues connected to nail biting and how we can treat these problems in our Arlington Heights, IL, dental office. Biting your nails can lead to tooth damage, gum disease issues, and bite problems.

Nail Biting in Arlington Heights, IL

Nail Biting and Oral Health in Arlington Heights

Many people bite their nails because of anxiety or boredom. Ultimately, biting your nails can lead to these dental problems:

Tooth Damage

When you bite your nails, you’re grinding and wearing down teeth against your nails. Over time, you can experience tooth wear and damage. If you have sustained tooth damage from bad oral health habits like nail biting, we will recommend dental bonding treatment or porcelain veneers. Dental bonding adds structure to broken, chipped, and cracked teeth. Veneers fully cover the front of teeth with shell-like restorations to change the shape and shade of teeth.

Gum Disease

Dirt and bacteria on the nails can transfer to your mouth. Harmful bacterial buildup in the mouth often leads to gingivitis or gum inflammation. If you do not address inflamed, bleeding, and irritated gum tissue, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis or gum disease. Gum disease is marked by problems including gum recession, gum pain, and increased gum sensitivity.

We offer periodontal therapy for patients with gingivitis and gum disease. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, we will recommend antibacterial rinses, scaling and root planing, laser treatment, or oral surgery. These treatments can also benefit patients with chronic gum problems who experience recurring decay.

Bite Problems

Biting your nails can often lead to increased pressure on your teeth. Pressure on the teeth and bite can lead to temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). When the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are under stress or pressure, they can cause jaw pain, tooth wear, headaches, and other painful symptoms. Some TMD patients may require a nightguard to stop teeth clenching and grinding, headaches, and other TMJ issues.

Tips to Stop Nail Biting

Follow these tips to help stop your nail-biting habit:

  • Trim your nails
  • Get a nice manicure
  • Use fidget toys
  • Paint your nails with bitter polish

Do you need to treat dental problems caused by bad oral health habits like nail biting? Call AH Smiles for treatment today at (847) 230-9703 or request a dental appointment online. Dr. Brent Engelberg and his team are proud to help patients find the right solutions for their oral health problems.