Nail Biting May Lead to Dental Issues
Biting your nails can be a tough habit to break, and you’re probably aware of the ill-effects it can have on your manicure. Many patients may also do damage to their teeth when they bite their nails.
The nails are hard objects, and they can wear down the enamel when bitten repeatedly. Similarly, nail-biting has been linked to bruxism, or grinding of the teeth, which also causes accelerated wear and tear. The teeth can also become misaligned as a result of nail-biting because the teeth need to shift out of their proper positions when biting on the nails.
The teeth aren’t the only things that can be harmed by nail-biting. Jagged edges of nails can irritate the gums too, potentially causing more problems. Any cuts or wounds caused by the nails can easily become infected because the mouth is such a welcoming environment for bacteria.
Cosmetic dentistry treatments may be necessary to repair teeth harmed due to the effects of nail-biting. Patients may need to consider options like veneers, crowns or even surgery to restore their smiles.
On rare occasion, the damage caused by nail-biting (such as advanced infection in the gums) may be so severe that the tooth cannot be saved and some sort of oral surgery may be needed. An oral surgeon may also be involved in designing a mouthguard to be worn to prevent bruxism.
There’s always a risk of more problems if the nail-biting continues even after an initial cosmetic dentistry or oral surgery intervention. You may need to undergo further treatment if you can’t find a way to stop biting your nails.
Nail-biting is often related to stress, so patients try to kick this negative habit may need to learn alternative stress management techniques. Sometimes tricks like putting pepper or other strong-tasting substances on your nails can help to dissuade you from biting them.
Hopefully, you will be able to quit biting your nails before you harm your teeth. But if you already have teeth that have eroded or become misaligned due to nail-biting, discuss your treatment options with a our Charlottesville oral surgeon, Dr. Carlos Ibanez.