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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Will nail biting affect my child's teeth?

    Related Topic
    My daughter is 14 years old and still bites her nails. Is this very bad for her teeth? I don't know how to get her to stop
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    Yes! Such habits directly affects the child’s teeth as well as child’s upper jaw and chin . Having said that, these changes are mild . My experience is that the results of such habits have been undectable by a non practioner . Some anterior teeth wear is evident but again minimal . I have observed adult nail biters (biting since childhood ) with minimal dental problems .
    Thumb sucking that goes on for more then 4 to 8 years does have the ability to cause an anterior open bite . This is a more siginificant orthodontic problem that must be addressed . When the subject closes his or her mouth ….the front teeth do not meet . Thumb sucking is the problem that needs more urgent attention in older children .

  • Jaffar Dental - Trusted and Established since 1997. We are a family owned General Dental Practice offering a friendly and caring environment in Waterford QLD. … View Profile

    It can chip teeth eaisly causing a disfigurement of teeth.
    The teeth can chip to the point of being sharp and so affect speech development.

  • Principal dentist of Newington Dental Care. Previous teaching staff for the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Sydney. Special interest in dental anxiety management and orthodontics. … View Profile

    Yes, it can weaken teeth (chip and wear) and if done for long enough it can also move teeth making them crooked. Also bacteria and viruses harboring under the nails has a potential of causing infections.

    A few tips to help her stop:

    1) Pop down to your local chemist and purchase a nail polish specifically used to stop nail biting, these taste rather bitter and can help as a deterrent.
    2) Trimming nails short. Less to bite on is the theory.
    3) Nail biting can be due to stress. So stress management might help e.g. relaxation exercises

    Talk to your local GP if all else fails. Anxiety management might help if this is cause.

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    Nail biting is potentaially very serious as it can be very damaging. New teeth when they come into the mouth are not as firmly anchored as they are later in life and a severe nail biting habit can potentially send a tooth crooked or even in extreme cases result in repetitive trauma that can loosen the tooth or even lead to loss of the tooth. Additionally nail biting can lead to aberant muscle activity that can result in a crooked bite with numerous crooked teeth.

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