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Nail Biting: Not-So-Great for Growing Smiles!


At Dr. Camps Pediatric Dental Center, we care about all aspects of your child’s oral health. That includes healthy teeth, gums, and even healthy habits! Today, we want to talk about a common habit – nail biting – and how it can impact your child’s growing smile.


Why Do Kids Bite Their Nails?

Nail biting is a very common habit, affecting many children between the ages of 4 and 18. It can be a way to manage stress, boredom, or nervousness. While it might seem harmless, nail biting can have some negative consequences for your child’s teeth.


How Nail Biting Can Hurt Your Child’s Smile:

Chipped or Broken Teeth: The constant pressure of biting down on nails can cause teeth to crack, chip, or even break. This can be painful and may require dental treatment to fix.


Misaligned Teeth: Over time, the pressure of nail biting can push teeth out of place, leading to crooked or misaligned teeth. This might require braces or other orthodontic treatment to correct.


Increased Risk of Infection: Our fingers and nails harbor a lot of germs! When your child bites their nails, these germs can enter their mouth and lead to infection in the gums or even the teeth themselves.


Worn Enamel: Constantly biting on nails can wear down the enamel, the hard outer layer of the teeth. This makes teeth more sensitive to hot and cold and more susceptible to cavities.


Helping Your Child Kick the Habit:

We understand that breaking a habit can be tough. Here are some tips to help your child stop biting their nails:

Positive Reinforcement: Catch your child keeping their hands away from their mouth and offer praise or a small reward.

Identify Triggers: Try to figure out what situations make your child more likely to bite their nails. Talk to them about healthier coping mechanisms for stress or anxiety.


Keep Nails Short: Long nails are more tempting to bite! Regularly trim your child’s nails with clippers to keep them short and smooth.


Fidget Toys: Fidget spinners or other small toys can provide a distraction for your child’s hands when they feel the urge to bite their nails.


Talk to Your Dentist: Dr. Camps can offer additional advice and support to help your child break the nail-biting habit.


Remember, patience and support are key! With a little effort, you can help your child develop healthy habits for a happy and healthy smile.


Schedule an Appointment Today! If you have any concerns about your child’s nail-biting habit or their oral health in general, contact Dr. Camps Pediatric Dental Center in Silver Spring, MD today! We’re happy to answer your questions and help your child achieve a healthy smile.

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