Lagos - Some dentists on Tuesday in Lagos said habitual nail biting could cause serious oral health problems.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews that nail biting was a habit disorder that developed during childhood, which some adult found difficult to outgrow.
Dr Adetunji Fagorola, said that nail biting, as it related to oral health, could be very harmful to a person's health.
Fagorola said, "Biting your nail may appear to be harmless, but, it can damage your teeth if it becomes compulsive.
"People who bite their nails usually do not wash their hands before biting.
"Thus, there is a high probability of getting bacteria and other harmful microbes inside the mount.
"Bitten nails can be jagged and may cut the gums, allowing germs and bacteria to easily access your gum and cause acute or chronic infection in your bloodstream.
"This may even affect the arrangement and appearance of your teeth and cause you to have cracked and broken front teeth."
Another dentist, Dr Kayode Taiwo, said that nail biting, as a habit, was mostly overlooked by many and could be harmful to oral health, if it was continuous.
According to him, while it is commonly acknowledged that nail biting is an unsanitary habit, it can be damaging to oral health.
"Nail biting can crack and wear down teeth, thus damaging the existing dental work.
"Also, nail biting risks gum tissue damage. Bitten nail pieces can easily tear into your gum tissue, increasing the risk of gum disease and eventual tooth loss.
"When nail biting is constant, it can also lead to gingivitis, an inflammation of the gum that causes bleeding and sores.
"The habit of constantly biting your nails, can eventually damage your teeth, particularly the incisors," he said.
Taiwo said that habitual nail biting in adult could sometimes be a sign of anxiety and such person should seek medical help.
He also advised that the habit could be stopped through conscious effort by the sufferer.