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Nail biting and your oral health

Nail biting and your oral health

Are you a nail biter? Then you might be suffering from a pathologic grooming condition called onychophagia.

People who engage in self-grooming fingernails by using their teeth are called an “onychophagist,” or more commonly, a nail biter.

Studies have shown that 26 to 33 percent of children between the ages of 7 to 10 and 45 percent of adolescents are nail biters.

Most people bite their nails out of habit, boredom, or stress. These are all issues that can be addressed on an individual basis with your dentist, especially if you’re noticing oral heath problems that require treatment.

Besides being unsanitary, habitually biting on your nails may eventually wear your enamel away, especially on your front teeth.

Other dental-related problems that can occur include:

• Grinding and clenching your teeth – also known as bruxism, can cause serious wear and tear to your teeth.
• Chipping your teeth – constant pressure applied to teeth can result in a chipped or broken tooth.
• Cuts to your gums – this can be dangerous as millions of germs can enter the mouth when jagged fingernails cut your gums!
• Gingivitis – injury to gum tissue can introduce bacteria potentially resulting in gum disease.

Sacrificing good dental health by compulsive nail biting can cause long-term damage, be painful, and costly, it’s worth breaking the nail biting habit for good and seeking help.
If nail biting is a habit you wish to break, contact Dr. Finkelstein at My Plantation Dentist by calling 954-584-1030 to discuss your options.