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                                                        DR. DAN PETERSON

                                                                      1415 SAGE STREET ~ GERING, NEBRASKA 69341 
      Call: 308-436-3491           

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Nail biting can cause your child's teeth to be crooked

Nailbiting, a nasty habit that affects up to 41 percent of children, could eventually cost $4,000 or more in dental bills. In fact, the threat of having to pay for all that dental damage may be enough to nip your nail-nibbling routine.Nailbiting can cause a lot of damage to the front teeth because they're not meant to be in a constant chewing mode. 

Nailbiting can cause a variety of costly dental problems:

bulletThe edges of the front teeth can chip or get worn down, or the enamel of the front teeth can crack. The enamel wasn't created to withstand the pressures of nailbiting, and the constant chewing can cause fracture lines. If the damage becomes too severe, a dentist will need to place composite restorations to rebuild the enamel or perhaps even crowns on the front teeth.
bulletNailbiters with braces are at a particular risk for developing root resorption--or shortening of their roots. As the teeth are already withstanding the pressure of being moved by the braces, the added force of constant nail-gnawing could cause the roots of the teeth to shorten. The process takes a long time, but if the root gets too short, the tooth can eventually fall out of the socket. This would require implants or bridges to repair the damage.
bulletTraumatic ulcerations to the gums can result. As the biter chews, a sharp point of the nail can get imbedded in the gum tissue, which is very destructive. In fact, some dentists believe this may even signify a cry for attention or help because at this point, the habit could be considered a form of self-mutilation.
bulletInfections and fungus can spread from other body parts to the mouth and vice versa. Bacteria in the mouth can infect the nail bed or even the entire finger. In the worst case, the bacteria can even find its way into the blood stream. Children can scratch a body part infected with pinworms, then bring the fingers and the pinworm bacteria to their mouth, resulting in more infection.

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and is not a substitute for personal hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.  Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care.
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