All of us have bad habits, whether they started when we were children or as adults. This is also true with children, which is why it’s important to correct their bad habits so that they don’t carry them into adulthood. One of the common habits that children have is biting their nails, which is usually the result of being fidgety or anxious. Not only is this bad for their nails, but it can also negatively impact their teeth. This is because it can cause their teeth to chip or crack; it can also lead to malocclusions (problems with their bite). For that reason, our family dentist in Clifton NJ has put together some tips to help your child quit biting their nails.
Find a Substitute
If your child is having a hard time stopping this habit, it may be because they’re accustomed to chewing on something when they’re anxious. Instead of their nails, try to replace them with a healthy snack, such as celery or carrots. Just make sure the substitute isn’t a sugary snack.
Keep Their Nails Clean
You should try to cut their nails on a regular basis so that they don’t have anything to chew on. In addition, cutting their nails and taking off cuticles helps reduce the bacteria in their nails, meaning they won’t be exposed to as much bacteria if they do continue the habit.
Encourage Them To Stop
Habits are hard to break, so try to remain positive during the transition. It may help to come up with a code word or signal that reminds them to stop doing it. This way, if they’re biting their nails without realizing it, you can use the signal to remind them without letting everyone in the room know.
Create a Reward System
Don’t forget to reward them for their progress! This could be with stickers, a trip to the park, a manicure, or whatever works for the both of you. This will motivate them to stop biting their nails.
Give Them Another Stress Release Alternative
Aside from healthy snacks, try to give them other ways to deal with their energy or feelings. This includes stress balls, silly putty, getting extra exercise, and much more.
If your child is having trouble stopping this habit, you can ask our family dentist in Clifton NJ for more advice.