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If you’re a chronic nail-biter, you’re not alone. It is a very common habit, often having begun in childhood, and is notoriously difficult to quit. However, it’s not just your nails that are damaged by your nail-biting habit. Your teeth can also suffer damage as well. While some people naturally outgrow their nail-biting habit, most will need help to stop.

How Nail Biting Can Damage Your Health

We know that biting your nails can be a way to lower your stress. Below are a few reasons why you should consider actively attempting to quit your nail-biting habit:

  • Your nail-biting habit can increase your risk of suffering from bruxism. Bruxism, which is the unconscious clenching and grinding of the teeth, can cause teeth to be cracked, chipped, or even loosened.
  • Your nails may begin to grow in wrong, causing them to look strange.
  • Biting your nails can make you sick. Nails are a great hiding place for all sorts of different kinds of germs. Your risk of getting sick is increased greatly when you’re biting your nails and allowing these germs to enter your body.
  • Lastly, biting your nails can cause your teeth to chip, crack, or break, and can also cause problems with your jaw alignment.

How to Quit Biting Your Nails

Below are a few ways to kick your nail-biting habit for good:

  • Cut Your Nail Short – If your nails are cut short, they are much less satisfying to chew on. Not having enough of a nail can also make it very difficult to bite your nails.
  • Know Your Triggers – Nail biting is often a form of stress relief. If you know your stress triggers and take steps to avoid them, this can help decrease the need to bite your nails.
  • Keep Your Hands Busy – There are many ways to keep your hands busy so that you can’t bite your nails. We recommend using a fidget cube, stress ball, or even a fidget spinner to keep your hands busy.
  • Use Nail Polish – Nail polish does not taste good! Because of this, you can paint your nails (clear or colored) to discourage yourself from biting your nails.

If you’re having trouble quitting your nail-biting habit, it may be time to have your teeth evaluated. We can also help give you a few additional ways to quit the habit. For more information or to make an appointment at our Durango, Colorado family dental office, please contact Durango Dentistry today.