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24/Jan/2021

Do you bite your nails? It’s estimated that around a quarter of adults chew their fingernails. While nail-biting may seem like a harmless habit, it can actually damage your smile. This is because it can wear down your teeth over time and even crack them! In this post, we’ll discuss what you need to know about nail-biting.

What are the risks of nail-biting?

While nail biting may seem harmless, it’s actually quite bad for your teeth. Here’s five ways that biting your nails can harm your smile.

  • Worn teeth. People who bite their fingernails – or indeed anything else, such as pencils, pens or ice – can gradually wear their teeth down over time, making their teeth more susceptible to decay.
  • Chipped or cracked teeth. By biting your nails, there’s the risk that you could accidentally chip or crack your teeth. No-one wants that!
  • Tooth loss. The risks of nail-biting are even greater for those who wear braces. This is because braces already put quite a bit of pressure on your teeth, and by biting your nails, you’re applying even more pressure. This can cause root resorption or even tooth loss. You definitely don’t want to lose your teeth after all the effort you’ve gone through to straighten them!
  • Spread of bacteria. You can easily spread bacteria to your mouth by putting your fingers inside. The area under your nails is a surprising hotbed for bacterial activity, and by putting your nails in your mouth, you’re transferring the bacteria to your mouth and teeth.
  • Teeth grinding. Nail biting can even lead to teeth grinding, according to research. A study has found that those who chew on their fingernails are more likely to suffer from teeth grinding later in life. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can lead to its own set of problems, including jaw pain and worn-down teeth.

How can I stop biting my nails?

As with any bad habit, it can be surprisingly difficult to stop. However, quitting is achievable. Here are some things you can do to make it easier to break your habit.

  • Swap a bad habit for a good one. When you feel the need to bite your nails, try playing with an elastic band or a stress ball instead. This will keep your hands busy and away from your mouth.
  • Apply bitter tasting nail polish to your nails. Some pharmacists sell a type of lacquer designed to help you stop biting your nails. It tastes awful, so if you apply a bit of it to your nails, you’ll soon learn not to chew them. Don’t worry though – it’s safe to ingest. Not that you’d want to though!
  • Cut your nails short. Having short nails means there will be less for you to bite.
  • Identify why you’re biting your fingernails. Some people bite their nails because they’re bored; others bite them because they’re stressed or anxious. Figuring out what’s triggering you can help you to avoid these situations. Even just understanding your problem better can help you to gain control over it.

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24/Jan/2021

Brushing, flossing and regular dental visits – these are all staples for healthy teeth and gums, but unfortunately, they can only go so far. For a truly healthy smile, it’s also important to make the right lifestyle choices. In this post, we’ll discuss seven lifestyle choices that could affect the health of your teeth.

1. Smoking

There’s an Oasis song called “Cigarettes and Alcohol”. The title of the song might as well be about dental care because cigarettes and alcohol are both things that are bad for your teeth.

Did you know smoking is bad for your gums as well? The smoke from cigarettes has a toxic effect on gum tissue and also can impede the blood flow in your gums. Not to mention that smoking can stain your teeth and cause mouth cancer. It’s safe to say then that giving up smoking could be one of the best things you can do for your oral health.

2. Alcohol

As mentioned, alcohol is also bad for your teeth. This is because alcohol dehydrates your mouth, which allows bacteria to grow unimpeded. There’s also the fact that you’re more unlikely to remember to brush your teeth after a night of drinking.

3. Diet

Your diet can have a huge effect on your oral health, particularly if your diet is high in sugar. Eating sugar will encourage the bacteria in your mouth to grow and cause plaque, which will eventually cause tooth decay. So to keep your teeth healthy, it’s best to stick to a diet as low in sugar as possible.

4. Lack of sleep

Some studies suggest that the number of hours of sleep you get can affect your oral health. Specifically, if you don’t get much sleep, your body’s immune response can become impaired and make you more susceptible to problems such as gum disease.

5. Weight change

If you wear dentures, then avoid yo-yo dieting. This is because weight gain and weight loss will affect how your dentures fit. If you do wear dentures and you happen to lose or gain weight, then visit your dentist so he or she can readjust the fit of your dentures.

6. Medication

Some medications can affect your oral health. For example, some medications cause dry mouth which increases the risk of tooth decay. Other medications can stain your teeth.

Therefore, we recommend that you talk with your dentist or doctor before you take any new medications so that you can learn about possible any side-effects.

7. Stress

Stress can have a real effect on your oral health. For one thing, people who are under stress often grind their teeth at night, which can wear down their teeth over time. For another thing, research shows that stress can make us more susceptible to infections, such as gum disease. Then there’s the fact that people who are under a lot of stress often neglect to take care of their oral .health properly. So if you’re under stress, try to take time out to relax and take care of yourself.

Need more information? Call us for an appointment

If you’d like to speak to a dentist about any of the above issues, then book an appointment with us by calling 01282 428435. One of our receptionists will be happy to help.


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Queensgate Dental Practice, 303 Colne Road, Burnley, Lancashire, BB10 1EJ



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