Onychophagia: biting your nails

The unconscious and constant act of biting your nails has its own medical term: onychophagia. This term may result novel as well as prolonged over time as a mania. In addition to its direct and immediate effects on nails’, fingers ‘and hands’ aesthetic, onychophagia can also entail consequences on health, and of course, on oral health.

Onicofagia y gérmenes

The hands are, at a second level towards the face, part of our presentation card. Onychophagia damages on the structure of the nails. Depending on the frequency and the intensity, biting the nails produces micro-cracks on their own structure, and as a consequence, an unusual and uneven growth. The part of the finger which surrounds the nails tends to warp and to be swollen. As a result, the aesthetical effect is not exactly the dreamed one.

However, the most worrying fact of this bad habit is its impact on health. Firstly, it is important to underline that we expose ourselves to an endless number of bacteria and germs that can be built-up and cause infection on the nails and the fingers, and later unfortunately carry them out to the mouth. Furthermore, onychophagia may foster intestinal infections, since by biting our nails we can ingest parasites hidden on these areas.

How biting the nails affects the oral cavity

Probably, your dentist has at some point recommended you to be careful when it comes to eat or bite hard foods. The same advice should be applied to the nails due to their hardness. When they are bitten, teeth can suffer from excessive stress and result in an increased erosion. This erosion deriving from onychophagia happens specially on upper and lower incisors.

Onicofagia y lavarse las manos

On the other hand, gums can also be affected by onychophagia. The continuous act of biting break the nail into little pieces that may stuck on gums. This situation provokes injuries which can develop into gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Have we convinced you to set as a new year purpose to stop biting your nails? If so, see your doctor to be advised as well as examined and do not hesitate to visit us in case your oral health has been adversely affected.

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