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Breaking Bad (Nail Biting Habits)

best dentist southern californiaAre you one of the 50% of adults (men and women) in this country who bite their nails? It’s certainly a bad habit that’s hard to break. Nail biting is an habitual, repetitive behavior that occurs when people are bored, nervous, or stressed. The act itself keeps the body occupied while the mind is in one of those three states.


When you pick at your nails, cuticles, cheeks or lips, germs sneak into the tiny tears, making the area prone to infection. Chewing the inside of your cheeks, for example, can cause canker sores, making tasks like talking and eating extremely painful.

Chronic nail biters are also more likely to develop bruxism, according to the National Academy of General Dentistry. Known as the unintentional grinding and clenching of teeth, bruxism can cause headaches, jaw pain and sensitive teeth. It can also result in a misaligned bite. 


The first step to stopping is to take notice. The second your finger floats to your mouth…wake your brain up! Keep a journal to jot down what was happening when you began the behavior. How were you feeling? Tracking details over time will help you find themes. Finally, whenever you feel tempted to bite your nails, occupy your hands with another task. Try sitting on your fingers or drawing a doodle.

Before you bite, think of the damage it can do to your smile and overall wellbeing. Once you retire the ritual, reward yourself with a fresh manicure.


THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently situated with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we offer most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental rebuilding, sleep apnea, and TMJ/ Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.