Nail biting is an all-around bad habit for your braces and overall oral health. Many people engage in this compulsive activity when they are are stressed or nervous, but it can cause much bigger problems than just unattractive fingers.
Think about what your fingers do all day. They're constantly picking things up, being put in unclean places, exposed to multiple types of germs and bacteria. Do you really want to then stick them in your mouth? Even if you do regularly wash your hands, your fingernails may still be dirty because it is difficult to clean underneath them. Nails that are constantly being bitten and chewed are jagged and can cut your gums, which will allow germs to easily enter your bloodstream.
Problems for braces wearers
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, adults and children with braces who bite their nails "put their teeth at even greater risk for root resorption (a shortening of the roots) or tooth loss, since braces already put increased pressure on the teeth." This additional pressure can also contribute to more of your teeth becoming crooked or misaligned, leading to additional expensive dental and orthodontic treatments.
How to stop
Nail biting is a compulsive habit and you may not be aware that you're doing it. Ask friends or relatives to inform you every time you engage in the activity. To deter biting, you may want to consider wearing a mouth guard or using a polish that will make your nails taste bad. Before long, you will appreciate having good-looking teeth and nails.
If you are concerned about how your nail biting habit is affecting your braces and want some advice about how to stop, speak with a New York City orthodontist. The staff at Upper Eastside Orthodontists are here to help. Contact us today!