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4 Reasons to Stop Biting Your Nails

October 19, 2018 ABC Children's Dentistry

While it’s difficult to find good data about why some of us never grow out of the habit of biting our nails, there’s plenty of good reasons to stop doing it.

In this issue, the San Diego child dentist experts at ABC Child Dentistry will tell you all the bad that can come from biting your nails – and there’s lots of bad to tell – and share a few tips for how to break the habit.

Why do we bite our nails?

We’re all individuals, so the reasons probably vary from person to person. Reports, however, have some insight. For example, nail biting can be a symptom of nervousness or emotional stress. Some psychologists argue that nail biting can be a form of distraction or a brief escape.

Also, while it might not be genetic, children whose parents bite their nails are more likely to do it themselves.

Is biting our nails really that bad?

It can be. Consider the following risks you and your child are taking each time you bite your nails.

  1. You’re more likely to be sick more often.
    Through biting your nails, you’re transferring the bacteria that live under your nails directly into your mouth, which can easily lead to more colds and flu.
  2. More cold sores and warts.
    Warts commonly found on hands and fingers can spread to mouths and lips from nail-biting.
  3. Damage to your teeth and gums.
    Habitual nail-biting can eventually wear down tooth enamel serious gum damage, especially if a nail becomes stuck in the gum tissue.
  4. Permanent damage to your nails.
    A protective layer for nail cells can be forever damaged through prolonged biting, which can lead to permanent nail damage.

How can I teach my child to stop nail biting?

Here are a few tips that will hopefully curb your child’s nail biting habit.

  1. Try to find the reason for the nail-biting to see if there are underlying issues associated with it.
  2. Cut the nails short to prevent your child from being able to grab onto the nail.
  3. Encourage alternatives to nail-biting, including taking deep breaths during anxious times, or a hands-on project to burn off the nervous energy.

For Compassionate and Fun Pediatric Dental Care, Call ABC Children’s Dentistry in San Diego

We pride ourselves on eliminating any anxiety that children may carry from past experience by introducing, creating, and delivering dental care in a gentle, non-threatening, child-friendly and fun environment.

Our number is 858-780-9794. Also, you can reach us online and via email.