Also known as onychophagia, the habit of nail-biting is one of the so-called “nervous habits” that can be triggered by stress, excitement, or boredom. Approximately half of all kids between the ages of ten and 18 have been nail biters at one time or another. Experts say that about 30 percent of children and 15 percent of adults are nail biters. However, most people stop chewing their nails by the time they turn 30.
Here are four dental and general reasons to stop biting your nails:
1. It’s unsanitary: Your nails harbor bacteria and germs and are almost twice as dirty as fingers. What’s more, swallowing dirty nails can lead to stomach problems.
2. It wears down your teeth: Gnawing your nails can put added stress on your pearly whites, which can lead to crooked teeth.
3. It can delay your orthodontic treatment: For those of our patients wearing braces, nail biting puts additional pressure on teeth and weakens roots.
4. It can cost you, literally: It has been estimated that up to $4,000 in extra dental bills can build up over a lifetime.
Dr. Berkeypile and our team recommend the following to kick your nail-biting habit:
If you can’t stop, behavioral therapy may be an effective option to stop nail-biting. Ask Dr. Berkeypile and our team for a recommendation.