Nail biting or onychophagia, a seemingly harmless habit, is a serious oral health hazard. It can lead to gum disease, oral infections, and shift the position of your teeth.
According to Dr. Seung Lee, DDS, at Del Mar Family Dental Care in Aurora, Colorado, it takes more than just brushing twice a day to have healthy teeth. Here is how nail biting can affect your dental health.
Fingernail biting is not just a childhood phenomenon. According to studies, millions of adults tend to do this regularly. This repetitive disorder may be a result of underlying conditions such as:
Your fingers touch hundreds of surfaces every day. Despite washing your hands, surface bacteria like salmonella and E.coli linger on the nail beds. When you bite your nails, these harmful pathogens get transferred onto your teeth and gums and may cause issues like:
According to studies, more than 3.5 billion people suffer from some form of gum disease and nail-biting is often an overlooked cause. The bacteria and dirt in your nails set gingivitis and periodontitis in motion.
Repeated nail biting puts constant pressure on your jawbone. This can cause your teeth to shift from their natural positions. Shifting teeth lead to bite problems and changes the alignment of your smile.
With all the germs hiding underneath them, you are likely to allow more bacteria to enter your mouth when you are biting your fingernails. The accumulation of harmful bacteria that release sulfur compounds can result in bad breath.
Nail biting can cause enamel deterioration. This leaves you with discolored teeth and may also lead to significant tooth damage like cracked and chipped teeth. It also accelerates decay and causes pain.
Dr. Lee recommends these simple tips to curb nail-biting:
Contact Del Mar Family Dental Care at (303) 577-0062 to learn more about how biting your nails can affect your dental health or visit us at 797 Peoria St. Unit A, Aurora, CO 80011 for queries related to onychophagia-induced dental damage.
797 Peoria St. Unit A, Aurora, CO 80011
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