Nail Biting and Oral Health

People of all ages bite their nails and it’s a hard habit to break. While nail biting is more common in children, adults also struggle to avoid this stress-relieving habit. How does nail biting affect your oral health?

Perils of Nail Biting

The Academy of General Dentistry reports that people who bite their nails jeopardize their oral health and increase their risk for bruxism. Nail biting wears down teeth, weakens tooth enamel and may cause teeth to crack, as a result. Gums also become sore when fingernails scrape or puncture their sensitive tissues, causing irritation from bacteria in the mouth.

How To Break The Nail Biting Habit

It’s easier said than done, but it is possible to stop biting your nails and enjoy a healthier mouth. Break the habit to save your teeth and gums! Here are specific steps that help some people:

  • Keep your nails trimmed and filed, with clean cuticles. When your nails look attractive, it’s easier to be motivated to maintain their attractive appearance.
  • Think about what causes you to bite your nails and how to avoid these situations. If you often do it as a reaction to stress, reducing your stress-load will help your teeth and overall health.
  • Use bitter nail polish as a reminder to quit.
  • Keep a rubber band on a wrist (or two) and snap it when you catch yourself biting.
  • If your child bites their nails, it could be because of pressure they experience at school or a change in their routine. Speak openly with your child to determine why they bite their nails and how you can support them to relieve stress and discontinue nail biting.
  • Consider a using a custom mouthguard to stop nail biting. Many patients discover using a mouthguard relieves tension, headaches, and tooth sensitivity in addition to reducing the occurrence of nail biting.

Long term nail biting not only hurts your hands but also your mouth. Prevent dental complications and stop biting your nails! Seek help from the kind dentists at the Yuba City Dentistry Group.

Dec 28, 2017 | Oral Health


  1. Jack Prothero

    I’m a conventional family guy but have been a hard-core nail biter over 40 years. People sometimes wince when they notice my low nubby nails chewed more than half way down the nail beds. I’m ashamed to admit that I also bite my toenails. That’s how bad it is. I sought hypnotherapy but it was ineffective. I’ve discussed the issue with medical professionals who didn’t seem particularly concerned from a clinical standpoint but indicated I could be an extreme nail-biting case where there may be no real solution. The edges of my front teeth are worn in places but my gums are surprisingly healthy. I’ve discussed the habit with dental professionals who tell me I should stop biting my nails and try some of the products on the market such as “No Bite” or seek professional help. That is the conundrum I am in. If there were no dental or health consequences I could live with the habit, but I do not want to damage my teeth to the extent of losing them.

    • Dr. Cheema

      Hi Jack, thanks for reading our blog and for sharing your feedback and concerns. I agree with you that we don’t want to damage our teeth to the extent of losing them. Your situation is important.

      I’d like to personally invite you into my office where we could talk further and figure out a game plan that works for you.

      Call our office to schedule at: 530-671-4784


      Dr. Cheema.


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Dr. Cheema worked on my father (95!) and we were all very happy with the results. Very professional. He takes his time and is gentle.