How Biting Your Nails Causes Crooked Teeth

How Biting Your Nails Causes Crooked Teeth

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  • Post last modified:19 January 2022
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We all have bad habits that we find it hard to let go of. One of the most common bad habits is biting nails. People will bite their nails when they are excited, stressed or even bored. You might think that this is a harmless activity. However, it’s fair to say that biting your nails could actually lead to a wide variety of dental issues that you won’t be prepared for and probably won’t expect.

You might think that it’s just children that bite their nails because it can be a sensory activity that provides comfort. However, studies have shown this is not the case.

15% of adults bite their nails while 30% of children have developed this habit. It is also particularly common in kids between the ages of ten of eighteen.

Biting Your Nails Wears Your Teeth Down

When you bite your nails, you’re putting pressure on your teeth.

Your nails are actually harder than you might think and will put up a good fight against your teeth.

As such, it can be a lot of stress on your teeth which isn’t necessary or indeed, natural.

As such, it can cause them to wear down over time and eventually they may even chip.

Why does this matter for orthodontic treatment?

To have the best outcome from your orthodontic treatment the enamel of your teeth needs to be at its best.

If you’re biting your nails, this type of habit can create wear and tear as well as friction on the surface of your teeth and can lead to enamel wear.

This may result in discolouration or require fillings for the teeth.

Biting Your Nails Moves Your Teeth

As we said, your nails are actually stronger than you think.

This is why to cut them you need a tough pair of scissors or nail clippers.

Since you will be putting pressure on your teeth when you are biting your nails, it can be enough to move your teeth if you have had this habit for a lengthy period. 

This movement can vary depending on the angle at which you bite your nails, which then can result in the teeth being pushing inward or twisted on an angle.

It’s also possible for an individual to use a gap in their teeth to bite the nail in a type of lever movement. This can cause the gap to widen or it may push a tooth to one side.

How Does It Impact Braces?

If you’re wearing braces, then biting your nails will mean that there is a lot more pressure on individual teeth.

It’s also possible by biting your nails to cause damage to the braces or wires themselves.

This can happen by placing extra pressure against a brace and dislodging it from the intended positions the orthodontist had placed it in.

“15% of adults bite their nails while 30% of children have developed this habit. It is also particularly common in kids between the ages of ten of eighteen.”

Even the wires that move your teeth through creating pressure against the brackets can be bent or be broken by biting your nails. 

You may also find that the brackets get knocked off completely, which means another unscheduled trip to the orthodontist. 

You may not be aware of this, but each part of the orthodontic appliance will is crucial to the treatment process.

If one part is damaged it can alter the plan and the movement of the teeth.

It can lead to issues that take more time to be corrected and you may even find that you need more frequent treatment to remedy the unscheduled teeth movement.

As such, orthodontics work can be slowed down if you are regularly but your nails.

Other Issues Caused By Nail Biting

When you have braces you will already be putting additional pressure on your teeth as part of your orthodontic treatment.

Your orthodontist will ensure that your teeth are not overexerted.

This is one of the reasons why braces are adjusted gradually over a period of months rather than over a short space of time.

However, if you bite your nails, then you will be putting additional unnecessary pressure on your teeth.

This is something that your mouth may not be able to cope with, causing additional discomfort and on the very rarest of occasions, it can lead to issues with shortened roots leading to possible tooth loss over time.


We hope this helps you understand why you should avoid biting your nails if you can.

It’s important to do this to make sure that your teeth stay healthy and it is particularly crucial if you have braces.

When you have braces, you will want to make sure that the treatment is completed according to the scheduled period of time.

If you stop biting your nails, you can keep your braces and your teeth intact.