Dr. Nooshi Akavan of Akavan Orthodontics in Tarzana, CA cautions her patients about the dangers of nail biting. Nail biting is one of the so-called “nervous habits” that can be triggered by stress, excitement or boredom. Experts say that about thirty percent of children and fifteen percent of adults are nail biters. However most will stop chewing their nails by the time they turn thirty.
Here are four dental and general reasons to stop biting your nails:
- It’s unsanitary. Your nails harbor bacteria and germs, and they are almost twice as dirty as your fingers. Moreover, swallowing dirty nails can lead to stomach problems.
- It wears down your teeth. Biting your nails can put added stress on your pearly whites, which can lead to crooked teeth.
- It can prolong your orthodontic treatment. For those wearing braces, nail biting puts additional pressure on teeth and weakens roots.
- It can cost you, literally. Our friends at the Academy of General Dentistry estimate up to $4,000 in extra dental bills over a lifetime.
Dr. Akavan recommends the following to kick your nail biting habit:
- Keep your nails trimmed short; you’ll have less of a nail to bite.
- Coat your nails with a bitter-tasting nail polish.
- Ask us about obtaining a mouth guard, which can help prevent nail biting.
- Put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it whenever you get the urge to bite on your nails.
- Think about when and why you chew your nails. Whether you are nervous or just bored, understanding the triggers can help you find a solution and stop the habit.
- If you can’t stop, behavioral therapy may be an effective option to stop nail biting.
If you are interested in more information about nail biting or would like to assess your oral health, please contact Dr. Akavan at 818.345.9601 or stop by Akavan Orthodontics when and if you are in the Tarzana, CA area.