Why People Bite Their Nails
The habit of nail biting, also known as onchophagia, is a “nervous habit” triggered by stress, excitement, or boredom. According to your Boise dentist, approximately half of all children between the ages of 10-18 have been nail biters at one time or another. Your Boise dentist will also tell you that while about 15% of adults are nail biters, most people stop chewing their nails by the time they turn 30.
Harmful effects & oral health issues
- It’s unsanitary. Fingernails harbor germs and bacteria, and are typically 2X dirtier than your fingers. Swallowing dirty nails can also lead to a variety of stomach problems.
- It wears down your teeth. Biting your nails not only puts strain on your teeth, it can make them crooked.
- It can delay your orthodontic treatment. For Boise dental patients who wear braces, nail biting puts additional pressure on teeth while weakening the roots.
- It can cost you, literally. Nail biting has been estimated to an additional 4K in extra Boise dental bills that build up over a lifetime.
To help kick your nail biting habit once and for all, your Boise dentist recommends the following tips & tricks:
- Keep your nails trimmed and buffed. You’ll have less of a nail to bite, and buffing them with a basic nail file helps thin brittle nails grow stronger.
- Bitter-tasting nail polish can help deter you from putting them in your mouth.
- Ask your Boise dentist about a mouthguard. Mouthguards can help prevent nail biting.
- Snapping a rubber band around your wrist whenever you get the urge to gnaw helps alleviate persistent nail biting habits.
- Think about when and why you bite your nails. Are you nervous or bored? Understanding the triggers to your nail biting habit can help you find a solution.