Chewing Your Nails Won't Ruin Just the Look of Your Hands

Nail biting, also known as onychophagy, is a relatively common habit that affects people of all ages. But biting on your finger nails nail bitingwrecks more than your manicure. Kyle M. Garlitz, DDS, a Columbia SC dentist, wants you to know that nail biting can lead to a myriad of oral health problems. Here are five little-known risks to biting your fingernails.

1. Root Resorption

Nail biting is a really bad idea if you’re wearing braces. Nail biting during orthodontic treatment puts your teeth at risk for root resorption, which causes the roots of the teeth to be removed.

2. TMJ Disorders

Nail biting is associated with TMJ disorders. If left untreated, TMJ disorders can lead to earaches, headaches, a locked jaw, muscle and joint pain, and difficulty opening and closing the mouth.

3. Bruxism

A recent study shows that people who chew on pencils, bite their nails, or clench their teeth might be at a greater risk for bruxism — unintentional clenching or grinding that can cause headaches, facial pain, tooth sensitivity, tooth loss, and recessed gums.

4. Cracked Teeth

Did you know that nail biting can damage your teeth, too? Kids and adults who bite their fingernails could chip or crack their teeth from the stress caused by nail biting, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

5. Tooth Erosion

Biting on your fingernails can wear down your teeth over time, causing uneven biting surfaces and tooth erosion. Your choppers need a break between meals, but biting your fingernails means they are essentially being used all day.

If you don't kick your nail-biting habit, you could ruin your dental health. If you are experiencing any of these problems, call Garlitz Dentistry at (803)736-8606 to schedule an appointment with our Columbia dentist, Kyle M. Garlitz, DDS. You deserve a healthy, beautiful smile!