Biting Your Nails is Worse Than You Thought

by PFFD | 29 January, 2018

Fingernails are one of the aspects of the human body that differentiates us from other mammals. Humans are primates, so they possess nails rather than sharp claws. This not only allows us to be grade-A back scratchers, but it is also much more convenient for completing everyday tasks that would be impossible if we were armed with thick claws. According to, they are also a great health indicator; one can identify malnourishment and other conditions simply by evaluating the state of someone’s fingernails. So if fingernails provide so many benefits to our daily lives, why do we spend so much time chewing them off?

When it comes to nail biting, your mother was right all along; it is bad for you! The Academy of General Dentistry says that biting your nails can cause cracking, chipping, or even the wearing down of your teeth (and even more so if you have braces). Even though this can be an easy habit to acquire, it is one that is hard to break, but it must be done.

Another study shows that people who bite their fingernails put themselves at a greater risk for bruxism, which is a condition where one unintentionally grinds or clenches his or her teeth causing headaches, tooth loss, and facial pain. If you are a nail biter and you notice worn down enamel, extra sensitivity, or a popping jaw, you may be subject to this condition and should schedule an appointment with your dentist.

When people bite their nails, they are also putting themselves at risk for cutting their gums with their nails. This can tear and damage the gums which would in turn spread bacteria from underneath the nail into the bloodstream (yikes!).

To get over this awful habit, there are a number of solutions. There are many clear nail polishes on the market made to taste terrible and prevent people from putting their nails into their mouths. Mouthguards can also be used, but one would probably not prefer to use that outside of his or her own home. Some dentists also provide therapeutic techniques to veer patients away from nail biting.

No matter how you decide to get rid of your negative habit, it is important to do for the sake of your own dental health.