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Nail Biting & Its Effects On Your Child’s Dental Health

Fingernail biting is incredibly common. As a matter of fact, around half of all humans will bite their nails at one time or another in their lives. Fingernail biting has been linked to stress and genetics, and will happen more often in women than in men. This habit can begin in early childhood and last until adulthood!

If your child routinely bites his or her nails, you may wonder about the effects it could have on dental health. Our teeth are the strongest parts of our body. They allow us to speak clearly, and chew our food. However, biting your fingernails can cause harm to your teeth.

How Can Fingernail Biting Harm Teeth?

Below are just a few of the many ways that this habit can damage your teeth:

  • Chipped teeth – The biggest reason to stop nail biting is the potential for chipped teeth. When a nail is bitten through, the teeth can clash together firmly, causing small cracks to form. These weakened areas can easily be chipped with any small amount of force.
  • Weakened root structures – If your child bites his or her nails during orthodontic treatment, the roots of the teeth can become weakened. This can lead to a variety of dental problems, most of which are painful and costly to treat.
  • Gaps in the teeth – Repeated fingernail biting can eventually cause gaps to form between the teeth. This is especially true if nail biting begins at an early age when the teeth and jaws are still forming.
  • Gingivitis – Your child’s hands are full of bacteria. If the mouth is repeatedly exposed to these bacteria, they can accumulate in the mouth. Any sores can become infected, causing gingivitis or other painful infections.

If your child bites his or her fingernails and you’re concerned about the effect it may have on their dental health, please contact Little Rockies Pediatric Dentistry. We’d be happy to evaluate their teeth and recommend ways to deter this habit! Visit us at our office, located in Parker, CO.

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