Does Biting Fingernails Hurt the Teeth or Gums?

Posted on 12/30/2019 by Gregory A. Williams
Does Biting Fingernails Hurt the Teeth or Gums?We all have that friend or family member we know and love that constantly bites on their fingernails. If you are that person, it may be affecting more than the appearance of your fingers.

We know it can be a very difficult habit to break, but our office would like to provide some information to help aid in the process and give you the motivation to stick with it.

Chipping Away At Your Enamel

If you have ever heard or seen a woodpecker consistently pecking away at the tree, the initial pecks are very forceful. Although they don't accomplish much at first, after a little while, they end up working their way right through the tree bark. Your teeth are just like that tree.

They have the enamel/bark and the tooth/wood. The constant chipping away at the teeth can rub the enamel off of them causing sensitivity. Nail-biting also can leave patches unprotected by enamel for cavities. In many cases of long term nail-biting it causes the teeth to slightly shift. When teeth twist, they are harder to brush into those crevices which leads to cavities.

Your Fingernails Have Natural Oils In Them

If you have a nice wooden end table or other furniture, you know to place drinks on a coaster. This is because any condensation and liquid are absorbed into the wood, leaving a ring. Your fingers have oil and bacteria on them. When they are placed in the mouth, your teeth and gums are similar to the wood. They absorb the acid and bacteria into them and especially down into the pockets between your gums and teeth. This continual act of depositing oil and bacteria down into your gums leads to gingivitis or other gum diseases.

This information should give you more motivation to quit. There are many guides on the internet as well as tools to help you quit. Find the routine that will help you stop fighting and protect your oral health.

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Gregory A. Williams DMD | | 503-620-2020
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