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Your Child’s Nail-Biting Habit & How to Help Them Quit

Young boy biting his nailsIf your child has a chronic nail-biting habit, you can rest assured that he or she is not alone. In fact, nail-biting is a very common reaction to stressful situations and is a habit that’s difficult to stop. However, it’s not just your child’s nails that will suffer from this habit. His or her dental and general health is also at risk.

How Nail-Biting Can Damage Your Child’s Health

Nail-biting can be a tough habit to break. Below are a few reasons why you should consider helping your child break his or her nail-biting habit:

  • Nails are a great place for germs to hide. Because of this, biting the nails can introduce a number of germs into your child’s system, increasing the risk that he or she will get sick and spread illness to siblings and classmates.
  • Your child’s nails may begin to grow in incorrectly, making them look strange or cause your child to feel self-conscious.
  • Biting his or her nails can increase your child’s risk of bruxism. Bruxism is when you unconsciously clench or grind your teeth during sleep. This can cause the teeth to become chipped, cracked, or even to fall out altogether.
  • Lastly, using the teeth to chew and bite the nails can create cracks, chips, or breaks in the teeth and can also cause problems with your child’s jaw alignment.

Helping Your Child Quit the Nail-Biting Habit

Below are a few ways for you to help your child break his or her nail-biting habit for good:

  • Keep nails short – The shorter you keep your child’s nails, the less satisfying they are to chew. This can often be enough to curb the habit.
  • Keep hands busy – If the hands are busy with something else, your child can’t bite his or her nails as freely. We recommend fidget cubes or stress balls.
  • Know your child’s triggers – Nail-biting is often a way for your child to relieve stress. Helping him or her take steps to avoid stress triggers can help decrease the need to bite.

If you’re concerned that your child’s nail-biting habit is having a negative effect on his or her oral or overall health, please don’t hesitate to contact Firestone Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics. Our child’s dental office is located in Firestone, Colorado.

Posted on Oct 11, 2018

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