Biting your nails isn’t just rude and crude, it’s also bad for your teeth. Your nails may be softer, but they’re harder than just about anything else you eat. Over time all that nail chomping wears down the enamel, especially when your teeth slip and slam into each other hard. All this wear-and-tear makes your teeth unhealthy all over, weakening the roots and making your teeth loose in your gums.
Speaking of gums, nail biting can be really rough on them. With the teeth being wiggled about and weakened, the gums won’t hold as tightly to your teeth. You could get gingivitis which makes your gums swell up and turn an angry shade of red, makes them tender and sensitive to the point where they’ll bleed when you brush, and even give you nasty-smelling breath). If you leave it untreated, it can turn into periodontitis, an even less pleasant disease that can be more dangerous to kid teeth than even cavities. Periodontitis can make your teeth fall right out of your head!
Things can get worse from there. Because you use your hands for just about everything you do, you get all sorts of interesting grit, grime, bacteria, and germs under your nails. From playing with your pets to throwing around a ball to handling a game controller at your friend’s house, your hands and nails come into contact with a huge array of unpleasant stuff and will stay on your skin until you wash it off. Your skin is very good at keeping nasty things outside of your body.
But if you put your nails into your mouth, you’re just inviting all that stuff inside. Broken nails and nail-fragments can cut and tear your gums which can lead to more unpleasant infections.
If your child has a nail-biting habit, you can talk to a dentist about ways to protect your teeth. If they bite your nails due to fear or anxiety, talk to a mental health representative about ways to remove stress from their lives. Your teeth will thank you for it.