Nix the Nail Biting

Remember when you were little and your mom told you to stop biting your nails? She probably wanted you to stop because your little hands were dirty and she thought you were contaminating your mouth with everything you contacted during the day – after all, like most kids, you probably weren’t the best at washing your hands. Then, when you were a little older, people would start to notice your hands, maybe even on a date, and were turned off by the sight of stubby, ragged nails.  But there was another reason you should have listened to your mom, boys and girls – biting nails is also a great way to harm your oral health.

Your mom was right, of course – biting nails can certainly spread bacteria from other parts of the body (or from previously touched surfaces) to the mouth and then to the bloodstream and, conversely, can spread bacteria from the mouth into the nail bed causing nasty infections. Also, children (or adults) who bite their nails can wear down or crack their front teeth. And for those who wear braces, there is an even greater risk of tooth loss or a shortening of the roots of the teeth since their teeth are already suffering from the pressure of the orthodontics.

As you may recall, a while back we talked about bruxism, or grinding teeth. A study in the journal General Dentistry has reported that nail biters might be at a greater risk for bruxism, causing pain, headaches, recessed gums and tooth loss. And those jagged nails can actually damage or tear your gums!

The TUNG Brush and Gel team wants you to have a healthy mouth, so if you ARE a nail biter, why not think about discussing the problem with your dentist – there are mouth guards that can be fitted to help you stop. We know it is a tough habit to break, so there are also therapies that might work for you. Remember what your mom told you, and stop biting those nails! Not only will you be healthier, but you may just decide to reward yourself with that long-awaited manicure or buy yourself that ring you always wanted!