kids lie upside down on couch and ask mom Does biting your nails damage your teeth

Does biting your nails damage your teeth?

Let’s talk about nail biting – that habit that many of us pick up in our toddler days and some of us just can’t seem to shake off into adulthood.
Is nail biting bad for you? Why do we do it anyway? How do we break the habit? Here’s everything you need to know:

Why do people bite their nails?

The tendency to bite your nails is a common childhood habit, similar to thumbsucking or fingersucking. That’s because babies have natural rooting and sucking reflexes that encourage them to latch and breastfeed.
A lot of babies start sucking their thumbs in the womb! Thumbsucking is a healthy habit; it makes babies feel secure and helps them sleep. Over time, thumbsucking can turn into fingersucking, and eventually, nail biting.
Kids may start biting their nails as a response to stress or anxiety, or simply out of boredom. It generally begins in toddlers, but can trickle into teen years and adulthood if proper measures aren’t taken to correct the habit.

Effects of nail biting on teeth and overall health

While nail biting may seem harmless, it can actually harm your child’s dental health as well as his or her overall health!
•Exposure to bacteria: When you bite your nails, all of the bacteria that was behind your nails is now in your mouth. This allows viruses to pass through your body and cause infections.
•Effects on teeth: Exerting pressure on the teeth and jaws by biting your nails can cause teeth to move out of place, leading to malocclusion (misalignment) or dental wear. This can require orthodontic treatment to correct.
All in all, yes, nail biting can damage your little one’s teeth and impact their future dental development. It’s important that you work with your little one to kick this habit before their teen years.

How to stop nail biting

There are a few effective methods that can help your child stop nail biting at an early age. One of the easiest and most effective treatment options is applying Mavala Stop nail polish.

Mavala Stop nail polish

Mavala Stop is a specialized clear nail polish used to stop thumbsucking and nail biting. When applied to nails, it has a bitter taste that discourages a child from putting their fingers in their mouth.
Mavala Stop ingredients are safe, considered ‘worry-free’, and do not contain formaldehyde, phthalate, toluene and other chemicals commonly found in nail polish. It’s most effective if applied daily or every other day, because children have a tendency to pick it off or suck it off.
Over time, the desire to bite their nails will disappear!

Still need help with your child’s nail-biting habit?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions! Our experienced Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry team is here to help your child develop healthy oral hygiene habits that lead to a lifetime of beautiful smiles.
We are your trusted pediatric dentist in Tampa Bay and Bradenton! Schedule an appointment with us today!