Indianapolis Family Dentists Save Your Smile

One of the most detrimental habits a patient can participate in is chewing on or biting at a hard surface. Though that can seem sort of obvious to some, what may not always be a “universal idea,” however, is exactly what constitutes a hard surface. Anything from ice cubes to popcorn kernels to your fingernails can cause serious damage to the mouth that may require treatment from your Indianapolis family dentists.


From chipping and breaking the teeth to alignment and structural issues- all of these previously mentioned surfaces and more have been correlated to physical harm. But what about the damage we can’t see? Today we will discuss how fingernail chewing, in particular, can harm the mouth on a more microscopic level.  


Think of all the surfaces you touch or are exposed to on a daily basis. From bathrooms, kitchens, workplaces and more, contamination is no joke. Bacteria, viruses, diseases and more can cling to these surfaces- just waiting for an entry point into your system. By chewing your fingernails, you can be giving these bacteria a way to enter your system that is almost too easy. Even if you thoroughly wash your hands after coming in touch with a surface, germs, like E.coli for instance, are very hard to detect, and there usually no real way to tell if you are 100% sanitized before engaging in your habit.


Hypothetically assuming by some means you could tell your hands were 100% germ-free, in the reverse, our mouths also contain some bacteria that are only really supposed to be in our mouths. By chewing the fingernails, you can be exposing any cuts or abrasions on your hands to these very oral-oriented germs. For example, certain strands of HPV can spread from the mouth to the hands, causing warts and other issues if a site of infection is available (i.e. an open sore) and meets the needs of the strand.


Whether this "tick" is caused by stress or some kind of subconscious grooming ritual, don’t risk the health of your mouth, your hands or shape of your teeth by biting your nails. Certain forms of behavioral therapy and other devices have been proven to be efficient deterrents, saving many patients from issues related to this harmful habit- and could benefit you too.


For further information on forms of treatment or more on the dental detriment of nail biting, call your Indianapolis family dentists today at (317) 926-5467.

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