Biting Your Nails? Know How It Can Affect Your Teeth And Gums

Nail biting can lead to tooth and gum diseases like tooth decay, teeth chipping, malocclusions and gaps, gingivitis, root resorption, etc.

Sushmita Sharma
Written by: Sushmita SharmaUpdated at: Jan 20, 2023 13:03 IST
Biting Your Nails? Know How It Can Affect Your Teeth And Gums

Many people have the habit of nail-biting when anxious or worried, while some tend to bite their nails unknowingly. It is important to understand that nail biting can affect your health in many ways and should not just be considered a bad habit. It can cause oral health complications and increase the chances of developing infections. Nail biting should be avoided to maintain your oral health and good hygiene. This article lists reasons why people bite their nails and how biting your nails affect your teeth and gums. In the end, we also list some measures that you can try to prevent your nail-biting habit.

Why Do People Bite Their Nails?

There are several reasons that can cause people to bite their nails. Some of them are as follows:

  • Some people bite their nails due to stress, nervousness, frustration
  • Nail biting can also be witnessed in people who are suffering from depression or loneliness
  • Some people bite their nails out of boredom

How Can Nail Biting Affect Your Teeth And Gums?

Nail biting can affect your teeth and gums in many ways. Some of them are as follows:

  • When you constantly bite your nails, it can lead to cracking or chipping of teeth. This is because fingernails are made of keratin, a hard substance that puts pressure on your teeth. This gradually weakens your teeth and can result in the chipping of teeth.
  • Nail biting can result in developing cracks in your teeth which can increase the chances of developing tooth decay.
  • Another hazard of biting nails is that it can make your teeth move and lead to malocclusions and gaps.
  • It can lead to developing gum diseases like gingivitis. In addition, it may cause your teeth to become crooked or irregular or lead to teeth loosening.
  • Biting your nails can lead to root resorption. This can weaken your teeth and make them more susceptible to falling out. 
  • If you wear braces, nail biting can damage your teeth as it puts extra pressure on them and makes them weaker. Nail biting can even harm your braces. 
  • Nail biting can lead to jaw pain or popping jaws.

Ways To Prevent Nail Biting

  • You can try sugar-free chewing gum to distract yourself from biting your nails. 
  • Keep your nails short to avoid biting it
  • You can paint your nails with bitter nail polish to prevent yourself from biting them. Or you can even do a manicure as one is unlikely to bite nails that look good or are well managed.
  • To stop your nail-biting habit, you can ask your friends or family members to remind you whenever they find you biting your nails.
  • If you are someone who bites nails when nervous, try using a stress ball as a replacement.


The bacteria and germs in your nails can enter your mouth and cause infections. Nail biting can make your nails grow irregularly and lead to chronic headaches. You should visit your doctor if you face tooth or gum problems due to nail biting.