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Tips to Stop Nail Biting

Nail biting is one of the hardest bad habits to break. If you’ve ever tried, you know just how true that is. What you may not know is just how bad chewing or biting your nails can be for your teeth.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • It can lead to chipped teeth.
  • It can actually weaken the tooth root (especially if nails are chewed or bitten during orthodontic treatment such as braces).
  • It can lead to TMJ pain in the jaw.
  • It can lead to gingivitis.
  • It can cause tooth sensitivity.

These consequences are in addition to the germs and bacteria you introduce into your body when biting your nails. Here are a few tips to help you break the habit:

Get to the bottom of why you’re doing it:

Psychologists and others in the medical community have many beliefs on what causes nail biting to become a chronic problem for some people while others never experience the urge to chomp on their nails. Some nail biters are diagnosed with pathological grooming, OCD or anxiety, among other disorders. Sometimes behavioral therapy can help you manage your nail biting.

Make biting or chewing on them unpleasant:

There are a variety of ways to do this, and you’ve likely heard of a few. Bitter-tasting nail polish is one of the most often recommended ways of deterring yourself from chewing. It comes in clear and colored varieties. Other people have tried wearing gloves or bandages on their fingers to help them quit. If you would prefer a more aesthetically pleasing option, paying to have acrylic nails put on or simply having a manicure done every two weeks may help you stop.

Find another habit to take its place:

For some people, the habit of putting their hand in their mouth becomes automatic and seemingly out of their control. Distract your hands or form a new habit by carrying around an object to keep your hands busy when you feel the urge to bite your nails.

It can be hard to break a habit formed over many years. If you have any questions or are concerned about how nail biting may be affecting your teeth, call Dr. Buck’s office today at 206-316-8286.


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