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Dr. Cynthia Pelley
Call us today at (503) 235-0313

Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
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8708 SE 17th Ave, Portland, OR 97202
(503) 235-0313
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How Does Nail Biting Affect Your Child's Teeth?

Posted on 9/10/2016 by Cynthia Pelley
A young boy biting his nails from stress.As your child grows up, they may have started to bite their nails along the way. Children do this for a variety of reasons, such as anxiety, stress, or boredom. While this habit may be comforting to them, it can cause damage to their oral health in the log run.

What Does Nail Biting Do to Teeth?

Nail biting does not only damage your child's nails. It can cause problems for their teeth as well, such as:

•  Misalignment of teeth
•  Chipped or cracked teeth
•  Wearing down of teeth
•  Damage to gum tissue from ragged nails

How to Help Them Stop Nail Biting

To help your child stop biting their nails, it is important to find the source of the habit. Often times, nail biting stems from anxiety or stress, so figuring out what is causing your child stress can be the first step in helping them stop the habit.

Stress cannot be avoided entirely, so when your child does feel the need to bite their nails, finding a healthy substitute to replace nail biting can be helpful. It will help them to be conscious of the habit, and it can still help them deal with the stress they are feeling.

They can play with non-toxic putty or clay, a stress ball, building blocks, or whatever toy will keep their hands occupied. This also works well for children who bite their nails out of boredom.

Helping your child cut their nails might also prevent them from biting their nails as often. It will help their nails stay healthy and give them less nail surface to bite.

If your child continues to struggle with biting their nails, contact our office, and we can discuss other potential options, such as your child using a mouthguard.

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