It’s a tough habit to kick, but nail biting can cause some serious damage to your pearly whites!
Nail biting is commonly picked up during childhood. Around 30% of children bite their nails, and about 40% of teenagers do, too. Nail biting is less common in adulthood, with only 30% of adults admitting to the habit. However, it can still be an issue for many.
Most of the time, nail biting is related to stress or boredom. Anyhow, it can cause permanent damage to your teeth. Gnawing at your nails can lead to chipped teeth, a fractured tooth, or worn down teeth– and people who wear braces are at a greater risk of these happening because their teeth are already under pressure from the wires of the braces. Biting your nails can also go as far as to shift your teeth out of alignment and cause them to appear gapped or crooked. The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that frequent nail biters may rack up $4,000 in additional dental bills over the course of their lifetime.
Another risk posed from nail biting is that viruses and infections can surely spread from your finger nails to your mouth. In fact, bacteria that leaves behind diarrhea and vomiting can travel from your nails into your mouth, like the infamous e-coli.
Identifying the source of your stress or anxiety can be extremely helpful when you’re trying to stop biting your nails. Since many people don’t even know they’re biting their nails before its too late, it is important to identify some of your personal triggers. This can be work-related stress, personal worry, etc. Not only is nail biting bad for your physical health, but it can also cause the nail biter to become self conscious, leading to depression, isolation, and feeling as if they have a lower quality of life.
Try some of these tips to overcome your nail-biting habit:
- First, be more conscious of it. I know it sounds obvious, but “try” not to bite your nails. It really has helped some people.
- Ask for help. Friends have a strong influence on your everyday choices. Ask a friend to help correct you when you start to bite.
- Keep your nails looking good. Use some nail polish, and even get a manicure once in a while (yes, even you guys can do this). It’s harder to bite great-looking nails – you just won’t “want” to!
- Make it unpleasant. There are over-the-counter solutions specifically made for this. They are odorless and colorless, but taste terrible — you won’t want to bite nails treated with these solutions. Ask at the drug store, or just search online.