Can Nail Biting Lead to Bruxism?

 In General Dentistry, Info Articles, Oral Health

Can Nail Biting Lead to Bruxism?

Can Nail Biting Lead to Bruxism?

A nail-biting habit isn’t always about stress relief or a reaction to anxiety. You might bite your nails because you’ve seen your parents do the same thing; kids who bite their nails are more likely to do it throughout adulthood. And this can create a whole slew of problems, including one that involves your dental health.

More Than a Nervous Tic

A few problems emerge from nail biting:

  • You do it automatically, whether you’re alone or with someone, which can cause some embarrassment in social settings
  • Your nails could grow abnormally or stop growing because of the damaged tissue
  • You’re more likely to get sick because germs like hiding out in nails; germs have easier access to your skin since tissue has been damaged

Dental experts in Livonia, MI agree that having damaged teeth is another potential problem with nail biting. You can crack, chip, or wear down your teeth faster than a person who doesn’t bite his or her nails. The damage is more than likely when you happen to have long, sharp nails. You’ll get the same results as though you were biting on pencils or chewing on ice.

Unfortunately, the trouble doesn’t end with cosmetic problems, which brings up this issue: Can nail biting lead to bruxism?

Nail Biters Are Teeth Grinders

Two studies have made the connection between the generally nervous tic and the usually sleep-related condition. The Journal of General Dentistry reports that nail biters are at greater risk for bruxism. The Journal of Rehabilitation, meanwhile, sees a relationship between those who experience anxiety in social settings and a higher risk for bruxism. It appears that social interactions can trigger bruxism in some people. In this sense, nail biting becomes not only a cause but a symptom.

The study in the Journal of Rehabilitation discovered the following:

  • 42.1 percent of the social phobia subjects showed moderate-to-severe dental damage
  • 32.5 percent said they experienced minor jaw movements with no tooth contact
  • 42.5 percent reported awake bruxism

Researchers conclude that treating the anxiety disorder could help treat bruxism (and other unhealthy oral habits) as well.

Preventing Further Damage

But what of those who bite their nails simply out of habit?

Old habits are hard to break, but they are not impossible to stop. You can start by trimming your nails to keep them neat. Shorter nails may stop you from biting them. If you’re dealing with a more serious habit, you can put on gloves until you’re able to control yourself better. But if you’re suffering from bruxism as a result of the habit, you need to consult your dentist.

Your dentist in Shreveport can prescribe a mouthguard that should prevent nail biting as well as further damage to your teeth. You may also undergo specialized treatment for your condition. With professional guidance, you can find a way to stop the nail-biting habit and protect your dental health.


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