Biting your nails is a bad habit to have, for your general health and for your teeth. Biting your nails can introduce you to the risk of developing an infection in a nail, and it introduces all kinds of bad bacteria to your mouth. However, the problems don't stop there. If you bite your nails regularly, here are three good reasons why you might want to stop.
The first and most commonly known issue with biting your nails is forcing teeth out of their natural alignment. The stress of biting down on your fingernails over and over again can gradually change the alignment of the teeth you bite with, pushing teeth over each other and creating a crooked smile. Think of this process as the reverse of having braces and you'll get a general idea.
In the same way that your teeth can be pushed out of alignment, the constant strain can also start to wear down the edges of your teeth entirely. It's not uncommon for dentists who treat those who have a nail-biting habit to see one or more teeth that are considerably shorter than their neighbors. This is because repeated nail-biting can shave down your teeth bit by bit.
In fact, you can check for this problem yourself. Take a close look in the mirror - does the top (biting) edge of the teeth you use to bite your nails look rough or ragged instead of smooth like neighbors? And, do some of your teeth seem to be shorter than others, even if only by a few millimeters? If so, this is likely a problem you're already experiencing.
All of the problems mentioned above are bad enough on their own, but it doesn't stop there. Biting down on your nails one too many times can cause your teeth to crack. This is usually for two reasons.
The first reason is that the pressure required to break through your fingernails with your teeth is considerable. This puts the teeth under considerable strain every time you bite on your nails.
Secondly, when you do successfully sever a nail, chances are your upper and lower teeth strike each other. Once or twice won't do any significant damage, but especially when combined with a tooth becoming worn down, a crack can occur. This would likely be painful and would require a filling or dental crown to repair.
Giving up biting your nails is a lot easier than going through these problems. If you're still struggling to give up the habit, talk to your dentist for advice.
To learn more, reach out to people like Michael G Landy DDS.