You work hard to protect the health of your teeth and gums. You brush and floss each day, visit your dentist every six months, and eat a balanced diet to prevent dental complications. However, you might have one bad habit that can hurt your smile. If you find yourself chewing or biting your nails when you are nervous or bored, you are damaging more than just your nails. You are also compromising the health and appearance of your teeth and gums.
Although your enamel is strong, it cannot withstand long-term chewing on the nails. Not only are your nails hard, but when you chew, it can cause your teeth to hit together, both of which can lead to a chipped or fractured tooth.
Gapped Front Teeth
If your bad habit started while you were young, it could have caused you to develop a gap between your two front teeth. The force of the chewing could have impacted their proper position as their support structures were still developing.
If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is best to stop biting your nails right away. If you do not, it can cause root resorption to occur. This is when the roots get dissolved by the surrounding bone. As a result, they become weaker and will result in dental issues.
Over time, the long-term biting can cause you to lose teeth from the constant strain and pressure. The supporting structures will deteriorate and they will become loose. Eventually, this can cause them to fall out.
TMJ symptoms often occur when there is extra strain and pressure placed on the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw to the skull on either side of the face. Not only will biting your nails cause symptoms to flare, but it can lead to the development of the disorder. The chewing can cause disk displacement in the joint, impacting its proper function and mobility.
Although the leading cause of gum disease is due to poor oral hygiene, it can also develop from your bad habits. When you bite your nails, your hands are most likely dirty. Not to mention, the nails can become shoved underneath the gums and the teeth. This causes irritation to the gum tissue while also increasing the risk for an infection.
Break the Habit for a Healthy Smile
If you have been biting your nails for a long time, it is not always easy to break the habit. However, with help from your dentist, you can stop the chewing and promote a healthier smile.
About Dr. Barry Polansky
For more than 35 years, Dr. Barry Polansky has provided comprehensive dental care. In addition to general dentistry, he offers many areas of specialized services, including cosmetic and implant dentistry. To promote the health of the teeth and gums, he creates catered solutions to prevent damage. If you are struggling with a nail biting habit, contact our office today to speak with Dr. Polansky.