Five little-known dangers of nail biting
Biting the nails is one of the most widespread habits among the population, especially in children. Onychophagy, its scientific name, usually appears in childhood and perpetuate itself throughout life if not treated properly.
The reasons that lead a person to perform this practice are very diverse, although in most cases it is related to stress. And it is an emotional and behavioral disorder that can sometimes lead to those who suffer it to need professional help.
Although the most visible stigma of onychophagia is aesthetic, this problem can be detrimental to general health, and not only to the hands. Because in addition to infections in the fingers, biting the nails has other not so well known dangers.
May cause tooth damage
It is demonstrated that the onicofagia not only affects the nails. This harmful habit can erode the enamel of the incisors and even interfere with the dental occlusion, that is, the way in which the upper and lower teeth join when closing the mouth.
In addition, the General Academy of Dentistry (AGD) concluded in a study that people who bite their nails are much more at risk of developing bruxism. An unconscious habit that can trigger the loss of teeth, withdrawal of gums or headaches and facials.
Altera the jaw
A study conducted in India and published in the Journal of Clinical And Diagnostic Research (2015) establishes a relationship between biting the nails and alterations in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Problems in this joint can cause pain in the face and neck, limited jaw movements or joint noises.
Problems in the gums
But this habit does not only affect the teeth . When biting the nails small pieces of the same can be stuck in the gums or stay between the teeth. This, added to the bacteria that pass from the fingers to the mouth, can lead to inflammation of the gums ( gingivitis ), as confirmed by an investigation of the Case University of the Western Reserve (2000). In the most serious cases, if that inflammation is not treated there is a risk of suffering from periodontitis (loose teeth, bad breath?).
Warts caused by the papilloma virus
Periungual warts, those that appear around and under the nails, are caused by the human papilloma virus and are very common in people who bite their nails. And these are the same oesophageal habits that make it easier for these warts to spread to the mouth.
Onychophagia promotes the appearance of intestinal parasites. This disorder especially affects children, although that does not mean that adults are free. The toxic substances and germs that accumulate in the nails throughout the day pass to the digestive system through the mouth and find an appropriate environment to grow there.