Nail Biting Can Be Hard On Your Teeth AND Your Braces

July 13th, 2018

WHETHER IT’S DONE consciously or unconsciously, nail biting habits affect people of all ages. On the surface, nail biting may not seem like a big deal. However, fairly severe consequences can result in both oral and overall health problems. And as if that wasn’t enough, it can also cause complications during your orthodontic treatment.

Nail Biting’s Effects On Your Teeth

  1. Nail biting can crack, chip and wear down teeth. Your front teeth are lot different from your back teeth in terms of functionality. They aren’t designed for gnawing or chewing.
  2. Nail biting can shift tooth alignment and damage existing orthodontic treatment.
  3. Nail biting risks gum tissue damage. Bitten nail pieces can easily tear into your gum tissue increasing the risk of gum disease and eventual tooth loss.
  4. Nail biting can be expensive. The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that nail biters incur an additional $4,000 in future dental repairs.
  5. Nail biting can break your braces. The hard nail on your finger when pressed up against your orthodontic bracket with biting force could cause your orthodontic bracket to break and come loose.

Did you know that teenagers are actually the most common nail biters? While 25 percent of young adults bite their nails and only 5 percent of older adults bite their nails, as many as 45 percent of teenagers have this habit. And for teenagers with braces, it can cause problems.

Nail Biting’s Effects On Your Health

Think about the most germ-concentrated areas of your body — your mouth and hands. You can imagine what happens when those two areas are in constant contact. And when there are even tiny, tiny breaks in the skin, germs get a free hall pass to your bloodstream. Yuck.

Tips For Quitting 

Maybe you’ve always wanted to quit, but it hasn’t worked yet. Here are a few tips:

  • Keep your nails looking nice. It will help motivate you to leave them alone.
  • Enlist friends. Sometimes it helps to have someone remind you when you’re biting.
  • Notice your trigger(s).  Anxious? Bored? Learn to deal with these emotions in other ways.
  • Carry a nail file and clippers. If you crack a nail or snag it, you can make repairs without biting.
  • Treat your nails. There are many awful tasting products — designed for this purpose — that you can put on your nails to really deter you.

Do You Have Any Helpful Quitting Ideas To Add?

Do you struggle with biting your nails? Does someone you love bite his or her nails? We hope the content of this post has helped. Let us know if there is anything else our team can do to help, or if you have other questions. If you have any tips for quitting, share them below or connect with us on our Facebook page. We’re always excited to hear from you!

Your smile and health are our inspiration.

Gorczyca Orthodontics, Antioch, California.

Charles Darwin, Missing Teeth, and Molecular Biology

December 31st, 2014

CHARLES DARWIN FIRST DOCUMENTED the incidence of missing teeth: a Hindu family in Scinde...ten men, in the course of four generations, were furnished, in both jaws with only four small and weak incisor teeth and eight posterior molars.

Father’s X-Ray

Tooth Agenesis May Be More Common Than You Think

The incidence of tooth agenesis “lack of development” of teeth ranges from 1.6% to 9.6% in the general population excluding third molars. The term “congenitally” missing teeth, commonly used in dentistry, is a misnomer since permanent teeth are not normally present in the mouth at birth.

Maxillary laterals incisors have been noted to be the most frequently missing teeth when only one or two teeth are absent. The Dariusleut Hutterites of western Canada have the highest incidence of maxillary lateral tooth agenesis found in 47% of this population.

Tooth Agenesis Can Increase Through Generations

Tooth agenesis is a familial trait. Hypodontia, small number and size of teeth, is determined by a dominant autosomal gene pattern with incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity. Children inherit tooth agenesis from less severely affected parents. Tooth agenesis increases in number and magnitude after the mating of affected subjects.

Son’s X-Ray

Hypodontia May Be Linked To Ectodermal Dysplasia

Several authors have suggested that hypodontia is “micro” form of ectodermal dysplasia. Besides aberrations in the permanent dentition, these patients also exhibit delayed tooth eruption, hair and nail dysgenesis, dry skin, bilateral congenital hip dislocation and an asthmatic condition.

Several genes have been found to be required for the development or teeth. In the most specific human molecular study Vastaridis, H. (1996) found that a point mutation of a G to C transversion in the MSX1 gene at nucleotide residue 2125 produces tooth agenesis.

The G to C transversion results in the substitution of a positively-charged arginine to a neutral proline at residue 31 of the MSX1 homeodomain. Arg31 is within helix II of the homeodomain located close to the backbone of the alpha strand of DNA, and is thought to specifically interact with DNA via a salt bridge to the G-5 phosphate group. Perhaps the ARG31Pro mutation similarly attenuates MSX1 interaction with target DNA.

Orthodontists Can Recognize And Treat This Condition

Orthodontist Ann Marie Gorczyca, DMD, MPH, MS spent four years in the UCSF Oral Biology PhD program. She is a member of the Angle Society of Orthodontists where she presented the paper: “Tooth Agenesis: A Molecular Genetic Model.”

Orthodontists should be encouraged to extensively inquire about the family history of individuals with dental anomalies. Orthodontists could play a crucial role in the diagnosis of underreported entities of ectodermal dysplasia by bringing attention to its oral manifestations. Patients with numerous missing teeth should be referred to an orthodontist and a dermatologist.

More Topics
diplomate american board of orthodontics Edward H. Angle Society of Orthodontists advanced education in orthdontics
member american association of orthodontists seattle study club american dental association california dental association
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