If you’re under the age of 18 and have a tendency to bite your nails, you’re not alone. Forty-five percent of adolescents suffer from Onychphagia, or a nail biting habit. Biting your nails may not seem like a real issue, but it can cause major damage to your teeth.
For example, if you want to avoid wearing braces in the future (or again), you should quit your habit. Constantly shoving your fingernails into the crevices between your teeth will cause your teeth to shift overtime, making them crowded.
Another reason nail biting is destructive is because the keratin (the protective protein of your nails, also found in animal hooves and horns) will strip the enamel from your teeth. The loss of enamel exposes the soft tissue in your teeth to bacteria and tooth decay. Also, the constant pressure and prodding of keratin could crack an entire tooth. Cracked teeth require dental fillings and possibly tooth surgery. If the crack is severe enough, your tooth may need to be removed.
If you have a bad habit of biting your nails, be sure to visit Dr. Wynatte Chu at least every six months to ensure your teeth aren’t suffering any permanent damage. You should also ask about solutions to your nail-biting habit, such as chewing sugarless gum instead of your nails.
At Wynatte Chu, DDS, we want you to achieve your best smile, and that means addressing any bad habits that could affect the quality of your teeth. If you have further questions about nail biting and your mouth, give us a call at 347-868-6546 or come see us in New York, New York.