A natural tendency for people suffering from stress, or for others a natural habit they’ve had from a young age, many of us bite our nails, but many don’t realise the potential damage they are causing to their teeth. Stress, boredom and frustration can all be a tick that sets us off, but now might be the time to cut it off.
The most common damage to your teeth caused through biting your nails is a chip in the tooth or broken dental restoration. Many who chew their nails will have an increased need for fillings, which can be costly, both to the wallet and to your dental health.
For anyone wearing braces, they should most certainly stop chomping those nails as they are much more susceptible to cause damage.
Another study, by the journal general dentistry, founded that bruxism is more common with those who chew their nails (or pencils, or generally chew items). Bruxism is the unintentional act of chewing and grinding the teeth, such as when sleeping, which can cause severe headaches and tooth damage.
When Did I Start Biting My Nails?
While many people may start at different ages, many studies have shown around 60% chew their teeth as a youngster, but the number drops off around 15-20% past the age of 18.
How Do I Quit Biting My Nails?
If you are really struggling to give up chewing, then wearing a mouth guard could be an option when in the house or going to sleep.
I would strongly recommend having a detailed discussion with your dentist about their best recommendations, as some may be able to offer therapy techniques that can help.
Another trick, when first giving it up, could be to cover your nails with some Sellotape or a sticker. This helps if you are doing it subconsciously without being aware, as every time you bite into the sticker you will quickly realise and stop.
Considering nail biting can be a sign of stress, beyond telling you to keep yourself calm and avoiding anything making you stressed (obviously), you can also chew gum, as this keeps the mouth busy. This isn’t the perfect solution as you are moving from one habit to another, but many have cited it as a great way to start easing off.
Considering you can only bite your nails when they are long enough, you may also want to keep them trim and short (with proper equipment, not your mouth). The negative to this aspect is if you heavily struggle from this issue then shorter nails still won’t stop you.
The final recommendation is to use a ‘bite no more’ product (or any of this nature). These are forms of nail polish (they have them in transparent colours for anyone who doesn’t want colour on their nails), but they taste horrendous. It is quite genius, as you certainly won’t keep chewing after biting into these. Quite importantly as well, they may taste bad, but they won’t leave an odour, so you don’t have to worry about others noticing.