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    October 12, 2022
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NAIL-BITING: UNSIGHTLY AND HARMFUL Q: I bite my nails. Are there any dental concerns about that? A: There are indeed. Nail-biting is more than an unsightly habit. It can play havoc with your mouth, particularly with the operation of your temporomandibular joints, the joints in front of your ears where the jaw bones meet. You'll often hear those joints referred to, in shorthand, as the TMJ joints. Any activity, like nail-biting, that puts the teeth in an unnatural position for an extended period has the potential to strain the TMJ. The unnatural position will eventually stretch the muscles in the jaw, cause pain and throw off the balance of the TMJs. If a very young child develops the habit, it can produce a gap between the front two teeth. Additionally, the type of person who is prone to bite nails may also be prone to picking at his or her gums. Non-toxic but unpleasant tasting lotions are available for application to the fingers and nails and some physicians and dentists recommend that approach. Another approach is to put a band aid on a finger as a reminder and deterrent. Talk with your dentist about what you can do to protect any nail biters in your house. SM-CL2022945 Presented as a service to the community by Dr. Barbara Webster 1121 Warren Ave., Suite 130, Downers Grove, IL 60515 630-663-0554 NAIL - BITING : UNSIGHTLY AND HARMFUL Q : I bite my nails . Are there any dental concerns about that ? A : There are indeed . Nail - biting is more than an unsightly habit . It can play havoc with your mouth , particularly with the operation of your temporomandibular joints , the joints in front of your ears where the jaw bones meet . You'll often hear those joints referred to , in shorthand , as the TMJ joints . Any activity , like nail - biting , that puts the teeth in an unnatural position for an extended period has the potential to strain the TMJ . The unnatural position will eventually stretch the muscles in the jaw , cause pain and throw off the balance of the TMJs . If a very young child develops the habit , it can produce a gap between the front two teeth . Additionally , the type of person who is prone to bite nails may also be prone to picking at his or her gums . Non - toxic but unpleasant tasting lotions are available for application to the fingers and nails and some physicians and dentists recommend that approach . Another approach is to put a band aid on a finger as a reminder and deterrent . Talk with your dentist about what you can do to protect any nail biters in your house . SM - CL2022945 Presented as a service to the community by Dr. Barbara Webster 1121 Warren Ave. , Suite 130 , Downers Grove , IL 60515 630-663-0554