KANATA, ONTARIO- Nail biting is a common societal pet peeve, but your teeth are fed up with the habit, too. The frequent practice of nail-biting can inflict serious health and aesthetic issues on teeth and gums, not to mention fingernail mutilation. Dr. Bartos and Dr. Northcott from Orleans family dentistry practice Trillium Dental explain five reasons why it’s best to kick the nail-biting habit for good.

1. Nail biting can damage dental work and promote teeth movement. Your fingertip may appear to be harmless, but constant gnawing has been shown to shift teeth, cause gaps (known medically as Diastemas) and trigger root reabsorption. The curious phenomenon of root reabsorption occurs when a part of the tooth’s root becomes absorbed by the bone securing it. In short, refrain from nail-biting if you’d like to avoid another round of braces.

2. Nail biting can crack and chip teeth. Few things are more painful than a pulsating toothache, but that’s exactly what might happen if your teeth incur a fracture from biting a tough fingernail. Front teeth usually bear the nail biting brunt, but they aren’t engineered to withstand the constant chewing like molars. Because of this, noticeable chips and painful cracks commonly occur.

3. Nail biting puts gum tissue at risk. The mouth and hands are easily the most germ-concentrated areas of the body. When these are combined, it can make for a few nasty consequences, including gum infections. Sharp edges from chipped or pointy fingernails can slash gums, providing a gateway for an army of potentially dangerous bacteria. Be good to your gums – keep fingernails out of the mouth.

4. Nail biting can spike dental bills. The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that nail biters pay $4,000 more in dental repairs than patients who don’t bite their nails. Enough said!

5. Nail biting can cause bad breath. Our hands are covered with germs, and nail biting ushers those germs inside the mouth. The assortment of oral bacteria, germs and residue from finger foods combine to brew an unpleasant taste. To ensure your breath stays fresh, brush the teeth and tongue twice daily, use an antibacterial mouthwash regularly and stop biting those nails.

Kicking any habit is tricky, but with a few simple tips and good old-fashioned determination, everyone can achieve their goals. For the ladies, try keeping finger nails polished and pretty. This will help by giving you a stylish reason to cease the destructive biting. Guys can pick up bitter tasting nail care products formulated for this purpose at many drug stores. If it’s the chewing sensation you crave, opt for a sugarless gum and keep it handy for when those urges set in.

Patients who have experienced damage to their teeth or gums as a result of habitual nail biting can rely on Kanata dentists Dr. Bartos and Dr. Northcott, who administer a range of general and cosmetic services at Trillium Dental’s five area locations. Popular services include Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, dental implants and porcelain veneers. Cracks and chips can also be corrected quickly and comfortably.