Nail-biting is a common behavior that can stem from stress, annoyance, and many other reasons. While many people agree that it is a bad habit, some might not realize that biting fingernails could hurt your smile in many ways, especially in children.
If your child tends to bite their nails, you can work with their pediatric dentist to strategize a way to stop them from doing so. Otherwise, they could experience long-term damage to their smiles. Read on to learn about three dental concerns that could occur if your child continues to bite their fingernails.
Risks of Pediatric Nail-Biting Habits
Introducing Toxins to the Mouth
Kids use their hands to interact with and learn about the world around them. You teach them the importance of washing their hands on a regular basis too so that they can remove germs that accumulate with each touch.
Despite hand washing and good hygienic habits, young children tend to put their hands in their mouths, bringing the toxins that have gathered there into their mouths. Biting their nails is one way that kids will do this. They can get sick this way, but they may also bring excess bacteria into their mouths that may lead to an oral infection.
Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue. It begins with inflamed gums but will progress to affect the teeth and jawbone. Irreversible dental damage may occur if this disease advances. You should help your child to avoid this dental problem by intervening and stopping a nail-biting habit.
Teeth are durable and experience wear and tear without issue with everyday biting and chewing. But hard-textured items like fingernails will generate pressure on the teeth when bitten. This could lead to an injury in the tooth.
You may think that damaged baby teeth are not a problem because they will fall out eventually. But a crack, chip, or fracture in a primary tooth could cause a great deal of pain for a young patient.
This tooth breakage may also damage underlying adult teeth, affecting their oral health on a long-term basis. Help your child avoid this dental emergency and work with them to stop them from biting their nails.
Impacting Position of Teeth
The pressure on the teeth from nail biting can pose a risk to the structure of a child’s teeth. And this same pressure can also threaten the teeth’s position in the smile. Biting in this way can push the teeth so that they grow crooked.
It may also shift the teeth and create bite problems for the young patient. It may pull the top teeth into an overbite. The behavior can also cause an open bite, in which the front teeth cannot close completely when biting down.
These alignment concerns may mean the young dental patient will need orthodontics to fix their bites and straighten their smiles. Bite problems can negatively impact their oral function as well as their smiles’ appearance. Prevent these malocclusions and more by talking to their dentist about stopping poor oral habits.