Protect Your Smile and Quit Nail Biting

Here’s how this dirty habit puts your oral health at risk.

First off: Happy New Year from our Dr. Maureen Fenn and team! We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Now, it’s time to start making some changes to better ourselves for the year 2020. And if you’ve been a nail biter in particular, this article’s for you.

Habits can be hard to break, especially if we’ve been doing them for a long time. While smoking and excessively indulging in sweets are unquestionably among the worst habits for your oral health, nail biting is another bad habit that, in many cases, can put your teeth in harm’s way.

So... why do we bite our nails to begin with? Well, usually we can blame this habit on boredom, or feeling stressed or upset. And with many of us giving in to this habit, so it’s helpful to know about the consequences.

Whether you’re a full-time or part-time nail biter, our Danforth dentist explains just how you could be putting your oral health at risk:

You’re increasing your risk for chipping and wear.

This might be the number one reason to avoid putting those fingers in your mouth. Accidents can happen… not to mention, habitually putting stress on your teeth cause your enamel to become more prone to chipping, fracture and wear.

You’re introducing your mouth to infectious bacteria.

Bacteria such as E.coli that tend to live underneath the nails can be transferred to your mouth when you bite and chew. Apart from being simply unhygienic, this nails-to-mouth contact could eventually lead to nasty infections in the mouth and throat.

You’re increasing your risk for an improper bite/crooked teeth.

A nail biting habit puts the teeth under constant pressure and stress, but this stress does not distribute equally to all teeth. Crowding and shifting of these teeth (usually the front teeth used to bite) can result, as well as spacing. And braces wearers, beware: this habit can significantly hinder your progress and overall treatment’s success. (Totally not worth it, wouldn’t you agree?!)

And of course… let’s not forget that, beyond its disadvantages for oral health, nail biting can be rather unattractive (both the act and what it does to the fingernails).

Make nail biting a habit of the past!

Quitting a chronic nail biting habit may not be the easiest task, but it can be done!

Some techniques that have worked for many include keeping the nails at a short length so there isn’t much nail to bite, using a nail polish designed to stop nail biting (these are bitter in taste to discourage biting), and seeking out other ways to deal with the potential reason for your habit. For example, in times of stress, practicing meditation or keeping a stress ball nearby can help for whenever the urge strikes.

We wish you the best of luck on your journey to quitting your bad habits and becoming a better you (with a healthier smile) this 2020 and beyond! Whenever you’re in need of expert dental care, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact our team. We’ll be glad to help!


Stop biting your nails
About Danforth Dental Clinic

We are conveniently located near Greektown on the TTC Danforth Avenue subway line between Greenwood Avenue and Coxwell Avenue.

1411 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4J 1N2