Advancements in restorative dentistry have made it possible to return form, function, and excellent oral health to nearly any mouth, regardless of the dental issues at hand. At Artistic Expressions Dentistry, Dr. Bruce Wilderman is able to restore teeth that have become worn down, chipped, cracked, discolored, or otherwise damaged so that patients are able to eat, speak, and smile with renewed ease and confidence. However, there is no dental treatment as effective as prevention, which is why Dr. Wilderman provides his patients with the education they need to preserve their oral health and avoid more extensive treatments in the future.
One common habit that most people do not realize can be extremely harmful to their teeth is nail biting. Indeed, many patients are surprised to learn about the dangers of nail biting during consultations with Dr. Wilderman at his Philadelphia practice. What might seem like a harmless, if socially frowned-upon, habit can actually cause serious long-term damage to your teeth and gums.
How can nail biting hurt your teeth and gums?
First, let’s start by stating that the dangers of nail biting aren’t limited to the damage it can do to your teeth. When you bite your nails, you spread germs to your mouth, which could lead to colds and other illnesses, and risk damaging the skin around your nail, which could lead to infection. While you are unlikely to experience any severe health problems due to nail biting, these risks alone should be good enough reason to try to kick the habit.
However, the risk to your oral health, especially over time, can be serious. People who occasionally bite their nails are probably not going to do much damage to their teeth and gums, but people who habitually bite their nails over the course of years are at heightened risk of:
- Enamel erosion: Over time, nail biting can cause the protective enamel that layers the outside surface of the teeth to wear down. As the enamel that covers the sharp, biting edges of the front teeth erodes, the edges themselves can become jagged and irregular, and far more prone to cracking and chipping.
- Bruxism: People who bite their nails are more likely to develop chronic bruxism, or teeth grinding, especially in their sleep when it is beyond their conscious control. This can lead to other problems, including TMJ disorder, jaw pain, and enamel erosion.
- Gum disease: The fingernails are great hiding places for bacteria. When you bite your nails, you introduce those bacteria into your mouth, where they can contribute to the inflammation and infection of your delicate periodontal tissues. This, in turn, can lead to gum erosion and tooth loss, not to mention considerable pain.
- Tooth decay and other damage: Nail biting can result in a tooth becoming weakened, cracked, chipped, or otherwise damaged. As a result, the tooth will become susceptible to decay and other damage.
Learn More about the Dangers of Nail Biting
To learn more about the dangers of nail biting, please contact Artistic Expressions Dentistry today.