Breaking Bad (Nail Biting Habits)

Breaking Bad (Nail Biting Habits)

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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.

WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT BITING? 

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. 

HOW TO BREAK THE BAD HABIT

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.

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