Have you ever found yourself biting your nails in a public place even without noticing that you are doing so? If yes, you need to stop it immediately. It is easy to see nail-biting as just another compulsive disorder since so many people are prone to it. But you need to understand the serious impact of nail-biting on your oral health. 

Also called onychophagia, nail-biting is a compulsive disorder that is often related to your stress and anxiety. Sometimes it is also due to a lot of excitement or boredom. This allegedly so-called ‘harmless’ habit of yours can impact your appearance, teeth, gums, and your overall health. Are you wondering how is it possible? Read below to know all the different ways in which nail-biting goes beyond just being a “harmless habit.” 

Physical Appearance

People can keep talking about one’s inner beauty, but that doesn’t undermine the importance of physical appearance. Physical appearance doesn’t just mean your looks but also how you maintain yourself. A nail biters nails and the skin around it is damaged. Constant nail biting can lead to tissue damage, adverse effect on the nail bed, and growth of deformed nails. This, in turn, makes people hesitant and embarrassed about their hands and overall appearance. 

Oral health issues

  • Teeth: If you think nail-biting only damages your fingers, then you are living in a delusion. By the looks of your teeth, you might think your teeth are one of the strongest parts of your body. But the truth is that even your teeth are affected by your constant nail-biting. The constant grinding friction between your teeth and nail can erode, chip and crack your teeth. It can affect the surface of your tooth enamel which protects your teeth.

Moreover, nail-biting can lead to a shift in your teeth and form gaps between them. These gaps are later filled with residual food particles or plaque. Severe formation of plaque is an invitation to the cavity, tartar and then tooth decay. 

  • Gums: Even with constant cleaning and hygiene, your nails and hands are not the cleanest part of your body. Putting them constantly in your mouth can lead to the transfer of bacterias from your hands to your mouth. These bacterias can settle in our mouth and lead to several gum diseases like gum recession or gingivitis.

Other than gingivitis, nail-biting can lead to other severe issues like Bruxism. A person suffering from bruxism has a chronic habit of grinding his/her teeth. It can cause constant headaches and soreness. 

Ways to break the compulsive habit of nail-biting

Here are a few tips and practices that can help you to break the habit of nail-biting.

  • Coloring your nails with a bitter nail paint
  • Regular trimming of nails to ensure you don’t have any nail growth to bite 
  • Covering your fingers with some cover or using gloves
  • Understanding the cause and time when you start biting your nails
  • Stopping gradually
  • Contact your dentist for a mouthguard in case of a serious nail-biting habit

The above-mentioned tips can work for you to finally stop yourself from biting your nails without even noticing you doing the same. Save yourself from the embarrassment and keep your oral and overall health intact.