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Nail Biters in Coconut Grove Listen Up!

Nail Biters in Coconut Grove Listen Up!
by Dr. Stephen J. Parr D.D.S.

Read Nail Biters in Coconut Grove Listen Up! by Dr. Stephen J. Parr D.D.S. to learn more about Grove Smiles® Dentistry and our Dentistry office in Coconut Grove, FL.

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In life, we have naturally associated the habit of nail-biting to stressful or suspenseful moments. Unfortunately, nail biting becomes a habit which affects more than the fingertips of your hand.

The most obvious consequences to your fingertips are the torn, uneven nails, and in particularly severe cases, nails that become dramatically shortened and deformed over time. This visible effect alone would be enough of a reason to discourage the habit, but do not discount the more subtle but serious effects of nail biting on teeth and oral health.

Improper Lineup and Gaps

Grinding the front teeth together to bite through nails can gradually cause them to shift, creating a bad bite or a gap between the top teeth.

Wearing, Chipping, and Cracking

At the same time that teeth are shifting into less than ideal positions, they could also be getting chipped or cracked, and they are certainly being worn down.

Resorption of the Root

Chewing nails places pressure on the teeth that can cause the jaw bone to begin re-absorbing the roots of those teeth, weakening them and increasing the risk of tooth loss. Having braces makes the risk of root resorption even greater.


Fingernails trap a lot of dirt and microorganisms under them, and chewing on them introduces all of that bacteria to the mouth, which can lead to gum disease.

Teeth Grinding and Jaw Clenching

People who chew their nails are more likely to develop a chronic teeth-grinding and jaw clenching habit, known as Bruxism. Bruxism causes, even more, problems for the teeth, as well as frequent headaches and facial pain.

Why Does It Happen?

Compulsive nail biting has traditionally been thought of like a nervous habit, but recent studies indicate it may have to do with boredom and perfectionism as well as anxiety. It is one of the several body-focused repetitive disorders, such as picking scabs and pulling hair.

Biting nails can be comforting, or it can just provide something to do. Many people who bite their nails don’t even notice they are doing it. That, of course, makes stopping much harder.

Breaking The Habit

There are many different strategies nail-biters can use to help overcome the urge to keep chewing those nails.

* Keep nails trimmed short.
* Use bitter-tasting nail polish to make nail biting unpleasant.
* Get manicures to help motivate you to keep your nails looking beautiful.
* Replace nail-biting with a different habit, such as squeezing a stress ball.
* Identify your triggers. If you know the circumstances that cause you to bite your nails, strategize a different way to deal with them.
* Stop gradually. Pick one or two fingernails at a time. Then slowly add the next fingernail until there are none left to bite!

Your Best Support Team!

Here at Grove Smiles Dentistry of Coconut Grove, FL, our patients’ oral health is our top concern. This makes us your biggest ally against bad habits that put your oral health in jeopardy.

So if you have any questions or concerns about nail-biting or would like more advice on how to put this habit behind you, don’t hesitate to call us. We are ready to help!

For Your Health,

Dr. Stephen J. Parr D.D.S.

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Grove Smiles® Dentistry

Dr. Rita Dargham, D.M.D.
2685 Bird Avenue
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
Phone: 305-858-0505
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