We have talked about infection. Have you ever thought about your teeth? Biting your nails doesn’t just harm the appearance of your hands — it can also damage your teeth. So your teeth can also become involved. “Constant biting can lead to poor dental occlusion which means the contact between the teeth, so the biter’s teeth shift out of position or become oddly shaped,” Scher says. “Nail biters also suffer from higher rates of gum disease and infection.”
So regularly biting your nails can cause your teeth to move out of place. In addition, nail biting could potentially cause teeth to break or tooth enamel to splinter.
Nail Biting Versus Teeth and Gums
You might think that your teeth are much tougher than your fingernails but, over time, nail biting can cause significant damage to both teeth and gums. Here are some of the biggest ways this happens:
Erosion, chipping, and cracking: the grinding friction of teeth against nails can gradually wear the enamel away, or even cause teeth to chip or crack.
Malocclusion and gaps: biting nails doesn’t just damage the teeth, it can also cause them to move, leading to malocclusions (problems with the bite) and gaps.
Root resorption: possibly the scariest thing nail biting can do to teeth is cause the jaw bone to reabsorb the roots, weakening them and leaving them more vulnerable to falling out. This is an even greater risk for people with wire braces.
Gingivitis: a lot of dirt and germs get trapped under our fingernails, and when we chew on them, that all gets transferred to our mouths, which can result in gum disease.
Bruxism: a nail biting habit can increase a person’s risk of developing a chronic teeth-grinding habit, which comes with even more oral health problems, along with headaches and soreness.
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