Nail Biting and Your Teeth

Your teeth were made for biting and chewing food but shouldn’t be used as tools for opening packaging for example. They also are not for nail biting, the topic of our latest blog. This nervous habit, often the physical sign of stress, can lead to chipped teeth and have an impact on the jaw and bite.

Dr. Jessica Stilley adds that, “Nail biting often begins in childhood with 60% of kids and 45% of teenagers having the habit. After age 18, statistics show that 30% are still indulging and doing damage.”

So let’s talk about some of the additional results of ongoing nail biting, and then we’ll present some preventive measures.


More commonly known as teeth grinding, bruxism is the unintentional grinding or clenching of teeth that may cause facial pain. Those with a habit of nail biting usually also chew on pencils and other objects. During sleep or while not paying attention, these individuals clench and grind the teeth. This wears down the enamel and causes constant discomfort and pain, headaches, and can also fracture teeth.


In extreme cases, the habit can even cause temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, disorders. The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to the side of your head and enables you to talk, yawn, and chew properly. TMJ disorders can cause temporary or enduring pain.


Dr. Steven Lieber adds some solutions. So, rather than focus on relief to the pain of bruxism or TMJ disorder, let’s focus again on one of the causes, nail biting. Bad habits are heard to break, but some tips to slowing or stopping the problem are:

  • Reducing stress with yoga, meditation, exercise, deep breathing, or even counseling.
  • Keeping your nails groomed with regular trimming or manicures.
  • A bitter tasting nail polish
  • Looking at photos of the bacteria under nails, might just change your will to bite them.

You will seem more confident if you can stop the nail biting habit, your nails will look better, and your teeth and jaws will have their best chance to last and serve you well. Please share this article with friends and family who are trying to break the habit.

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