Wright Dental Center

Do You Bite Your Nails? Serious Dental Issues Could Be in Your Future

September 26, 2018
Posted By: James Wright III , DMD
Woman smiling | Emergency Dentist Cincinnati OH

Fingernail biting can be detrimental to your overall health; consider the items you touch during the day and the bacteria trapped underneath your nails! 

It’s also important to consider your oral health when biting your nails. This bad habit can lead to everything from bacterial infections to jaw disorders. 

Here are a few potential consequences of nail-biting.

Bacterial Infections

A study conducted several years ago found that people who bite their nails have more gram-negative bacteria in their bodies than people who abstain from this bad habit. Gram-negative bacteria can cause several types of infection, including oral. 

Teeth Grinding

Some studies have shown a link between nail biting and teeth grinding (bruxism). Teeth grinding wears down tooth enamel and contributes to cavities and dental infections. 

Eliminating one oral fixation, nail-biting, may decrease your odds of developing the other.  


TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a painful dysfunction of the hinge-like joint that joins your jawbone to your skull. Symptoms of TMJ include headache jaw pain, chewing difficulty, clicking noises from the joint, and locking jaw. 

If you indulge in excessive nail biting, you may increase your risk of developing TMJ. 

How to Break Your Nail Biting Habit

Nail biting can be a relaxing habit, a stress reliever in uncomfortable situations, and even a convention performed without much thought. Here are a few suggestions to help you kick the habit. 

  • Keep nails cut short
  • Get a fidget spinner for stressful situations
  • Apply lotion to your hands, including your fingertips that has a bitter or soapy flavor

When to See Your Cold Spring Dentist

If you’re a nail biter, make an appointment with Dr. Wright in Cold Spring, KY to have an oral health assessment and exam. Bacteria from nail-biting can have potentially serious consequences so don’t wait! 

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