Nail Biting is Bad for Your Health

What’s the go-to method in a movie or sitcom to portray nervousness in a character? Put on your best imitation of a well-paid actor auditioning for a part. The director shouts: “Give me your nervous look, now!”

What do you do? Do you start biting your nails? Why do we recognize this as the all-purpose way of exhibiting anxiety? Perhaps we haven’t done it ourselves, but we’ve likely seen other people do it at different times. And while it is a stress reliever for some, if you suffer from an urge to bite your nails, and not just when you’re nervous, you need to put this habit behind you.

Biting your fingernails is obviously not good for your fingernails, but constantly nibbling on those nails is also perilous to your dental health. Here’s a short list of potential complications from nail-biting:

  • chipping a tooth;
  • introducing unhealthy bacteria to the mouth and gums;
  • stress on jaw muscles, leading to bite problems;
  • jaw pain.

So breaking the habit is critical to your oral health.

How to Cure Nail Biting

If you hate to waste money, go get a manicure and treat your nails to some positive attention. Don’t worry about what the nail salon will think of your nails, they know what to do to make them look better! Afterwards, the thought of the money you spent can give you pause from chewing up your nails.

If going cold turkey has never worked for stopping your nail biting habit, try quitting one finger at a time. Make a pact to never bite the fingernail on your right index finger. Leave that one alone, and when you think it’s safe, add another finger. Keep adding more fingers to the “No Bite List,” until all are safe and you’ve finally given up the habit.

Get some of that nasty tasting liquid they sell to make children stop sucking their thumbs. Put it on your fingertips and under your nails often, and it will no longer be a pleasant experience to bite your nails.

For another monetary method, enlist the help of your children, friends and relatives. Every time they catch you biting your nails, you owe them an agreed upon amount of money.

Another “pain is your gain” method involves wearing a rubber band around your wrist. When the urge to nibble those nails nudges your noggin, give that rubber band a snap.

For most, the brain gets the negative message from one of these methods and they manage to stop the biting. The staff here at the Lakeside Family Dentistry knows dental health is a comprehensive subject. Having a vibrant and healthy smile is about the good things you do for your teeth and gums, and the bad things you don’t do to your teeth and gums. Next time you’re in for an appointment, we’d love to hear your success stories (or struggles) involving quitting your nail biting habit!



4371 Highway 24
Anderson, SC 29626

(864) 305-1402




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Tue:    8:00am - 5:00pm
Wed:   8:00am - 5:00pm
Thu:    8:00am - 5:00pm

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