If you're a nail-biter, chances are that you already know that it's not good for your teeth. However, you might be shocked how this simple habit can severely damage your teeth, jaw, and even gums. If you're a nail-biter, read this guide to learn more about the four ways you're harming your mouth when you bite your nails.
Crooked, Overly-Crowded Teeth
If you've been biting your nails for a long time, you've probably already made your teeth crooked. Unfortunately, the pressure applied on your teeth can, over time, drive one tooth out of alignment and force the others to cross over it. This can make it more difficult to floss, as the teeth become more crowded.
In addition to pushing individual teeth out of alignment, you can also harm the position of your jaw. Even people who previously had perfect teeth can potentially cause their lower jaw to move inwards due to years of repeated pressure on it.
This problem requires braces to fix, but it can also cause serious pain. Excess pressure on your temporomandibular joint can make it hard to open or close your mouth, or make the joint click and pop when you chew. Additionally, it can make your neck and face look less defined as the jaw is gradually forced inward.
Biting your nails introduces bacteria into your mouth that wouldn't ordinarily be there. Anything you've recently touched can spread to your mouth, potentially causing gum infections, inflammation, and increasing your risk for gum disease.
Biting down on your nails can potentially chip or wear down the edges of your teeth given enough time. If your teeth appear to have a serrated edge when you look at them closely, yours have already experienced wear and tear from biting your nails.
Thankfully, these problems can all be repaired by dentists. Overbites and crowded teeth can be fixed with braces, chipped teeth can be restored with veneers or caps, and if you're suffering from gum disease, a dentist can get you back on the road to a healthy mouth.
Biting your nails is a hard habit to break, but it may not seem like it's that big a deal. However, it really can hurt the overall look and health of your mouth given enough time. Work with your dentist to repair the damage and ask for advice on how to stop biting your nails. For more information, find a general dentistry practitioner in your area.