Kick the Nail-Biting Habit: Why Your Children Should Stop

photo of a child biting his nailsIt might seem like a harmless habit, but sometimes, nail-biting among kids can be a serious matter. That’s because the reason behind it and its consequences affect their health.

Why They Bite Nails

Classified as a “nervous habit,” nail-biting joins thumb-sucking, nose-picking and teeth-grinding in the list of coping mechanisms to life’s stresses.

Health experts in Murray explain that your child could be resorting to biting their nails to manage anxiety, say when performing in front of many people in school or moving to a new neighborhood.

It could also be a sign of boredom. Kids have plenty of energy, which needs an outlet, so when they’re not playing or doing homework, you’ll most likely find them nail-biting the boredom away.

Another factor here is imitation. When kids see a sibling or another adult doing the habit, they’re more likely to copy. It makes them feel good, getting a sense of being a “grownup.”

As you would realize, the reasons behind nail-biting can be a concern — but its consequences are equally worrying as it affects their oral health. If your child complains about changes in teeth and gums, see a kids’ dentist in Murray immediately.

Bad for the Teeth

Nail-biting can cause cracked or chipped teeth. The front teeth aren’t like the molars that are made for chewing, so if your child frequently does the habit, there’s a good chance that they will suffer such dental injuries.

They will eventually experience tooth sensitivity, which would make eating uncomfortable. Additionally, biting on nails can put your child at risk for gum disease. How? Fingernails aren’t exactly the cleanest things to put in your mouth. The bacteria trapped there can spread to the mouth and the gums.

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Furthermore, the jagged, sharp chipped nails can tear gum tissue, which again could compromise gum health. Dental health experts add that the unnecessary force and pressure of chewing on nails can stretch the ligaments in the gums supporting the tooth. Over time, this could result in tooth loss.

Nail-biting isn’t a good habit. You should be able to address your child’s anxieties, let them overcome boredom healthily and discourage them when copying other people. If your child’s nail-biting habits have already taken a toll on their dental health, consult a pediatric dentist immediately.