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Tooth Stress For Nail Biters

Tooth Stress For Nail Biters
by Dr. Stephen J. Parr D.D.S.

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

We look forward to serving you! Call - 305-858-0505.

In life, we have naturally associated the habit of nail-biting with stressful or suspenseful moments. But unfortunately, nail-biting has become a habit that 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 severe 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 more significant.

Gingivitis

Fingernails trap many dirt and microorganisms under them, and chewing on them introduces bacteria to the mouth, leading 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 and frequent headaches and facial pain.

Why Does It Happen?

Compulsive nail biting has traditionally been thought of as a nervous habit, but recent studies indicate it may have to do with boredom and perfectionism as well as anxiety. In addition, 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. Unfortunately, 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!

At Grove Smiles Dentistry of Coconut Grove, FL, our patient’s oral health is our top concern. This makes us your biggest ally against bad habits that jeopardize your oral health.

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

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For Your Health,

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

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Grove Smiles® Dentistry

Dr. Stephen J. Parr D.D.S., P.A.
2685 Bird Avenue
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
Phone: 305-858-0505
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