Nail Biting is Terrible For Toddler’s Teeth
If your child continually bites or chew on his or her nails, the habit can affect your child’s teeth and health negatively. The constant chewing and biting can chip or wear down the front teeth. Tiny chips can form across the front teeth leading to fractures and enamel loss. As a result, the tooth becomes more sensitive and can lead to early tooth decay. Prolong nail biting can lead to misaligned teeth, recessed gum lines, and eventually, tooth loss. In the most severe cases of nail-biting, a condition known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMJ can develop. TMJ is a painful condition that causes severe jaw pain and headaches. Jaw pain and headaches can compromise your child’s ability to focus and eat. Curbing your child’s nail biting habit can be challenging.
Here are seven tips to help your child stop nail biting.
- Anxiety and stress can cause your toddler to bite their nails. When your toddler starts daycare or when mom and dad go back to work can be very stressful events for toddlers. To reduce the stress of being in a new environment, help by finding positive changes for him or her direct the energy in productive ways. Activities such as playing ball, dancing, or painting can help lower anxiety and stress. Address the source of their anxiety or stress by assisting them to overcome the problem.
- Keep nails trimmed. Neatly trimmed nails reduce the temptation for biting.
- Offer an alternative substitute if he or she insists on chewing and biting. Offer sugar-free candy or healthy snacks to keep their hands and mouth busy.
- Refocus their attention. Sing a song using hands and fingers to distract them from biting or play games requiring the use of their hands.
- Reward their efforts for not biting. Showing toddler praises and rewards can boost their confidence and positively reinforce good habits.
- Try no bite nail polish. Consult with your dentist or physician first before trying no bite nail polish. No bite nail polish has a very bitter taste that can deter your child from putting their hands or fingers inside their mouth.
- Do not scold your child. It can be challenging not to scold your child’s biting habit. Scolding can further exacerbate the problem. Instead, continue positive reinforcement and give it time to let the nail biting habit subside.