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Bad habits such as not making the bed, or leaving your laundry on the floor are can annoy some people, but, fortunately, aren’t detrimental to your health. On the other hand, would you be surprised to learn that nail biting can lead to problems with your teeth, but can also cause other issues?

Did you know that your nails are the dirtiest part of your hand? Or that they are potentially the dirtiest part of your body? Therefore, if you bite them, you will get the germs and bacteria that reside in your nails into your mouth. This will promote the growth of other bacteria, leading to plaque buildup and ultimately tooth decay. Biting your nails can also wear down your teeth and cause mini-fractures.

Similarly, nail biting can promote bruxism, which can also be caused by anxiety or stress. Bruxism, which is also referred to as teeth grinding, can lead to a number of problems. For instance, bruxism can lead to shifting or dislodged teeth, frequent headaches, and can even cause problems with your jaw.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to stop nail biting. For instance, since nail biting is often brought on by stressful situations, learning to manage stress may be helpful. Similarly, if you keep your nails short and trimmed, you may have a harder time biting your nails—meaning you’ll be less likely to chew reflexively. Finally, if you spend a little money on your nails, you will also be less likely to bite them.

If you bite your nails, we recommend visiting our dentist, Dr. Scott Healey for a checkup. Our team will be able to assess the damage and help you come up with a plan for your unique situation. If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment, please feel free to contact Scott M. Healey Dentistry at 801.653.0099.