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Many of our daily habits can be quite harmful to our dental health. One often overlooked is the nervous habit of  biting of our nails. This habit can be triggered by stress, excitement, and even boredom. Statistics have shown about that almost about half of all children between the age of 10 and 18 bite their nails. Luckily, most stop by the age of 30.

Dental Health Effects

The following are a few of the most harmful effects of a nail biting habit on your teeth.

-Can Break Down / Wear Down Your Teeth. Biting our nails can put added stress on our teeth which can lead to fractures and crooked teeth.

-Nail Biting Is Unsanitary. Over the course of your day, your nails collect and harbor bacteria and dirt. Swallowing the nails or bacteria can lead to stomach issues or illness.

-Increased Dental Costs. Studies have shown nail biters can add as much as $4,000 dollars in extra dental bills over the course of a lifetime.

-Delay Orthodontic Treatment. As mentioned above, nail biting can place extra stress on our teeth. Forcing them out of place and working against orthodontic treatment.

Tips To Beat Your Nail Biting Habit

-Keep your nails trim. Taking care of your nails can help reduce your nail biting habit and encourage you to keep your nails clean.

-Regular Manicures. Having a regular manicure or using nail polish can help avoid biting your nails. For men, clear polish can be used and is effective.

-Use A Mouthguard. A custom mouthguard can help break the habit.

-Use A Bitter Tasting Nail Polish. The terrible spicy taste will train you not to bite your nails.

-Wear Gloves. Whenever possible wear gloves to remind you not to bite your nails.

-Behavioral Therapy. Seek professional help if you are unable to stop.

Nail Biting Conclusion

While many consider nail biting a harmless habit it really is not. It can cause damage to our teeth and our general health. As always see your dentist regularly for regular dental examinations and professional cleanings.

Dental anxiety affects a large portion of the population. While many have such anxiety, some are so fearful that they can not even get themselves through the dentist’s front door.Statistics show that  15-20% of all Americans avoid the dentist due to fears or anxiety about the dentist. The reasons for anxiety are different for everyone. These can include fear about feeling rushed by the dentist, possible pain, or even just the smells and sounds of the dental office. Dental anxiety and dental phobia, when stopping someone from receiving dental care,  lead to unnecessary oral and general health problems.

Tips To Calm Dental Anxiety

-Finding The Right Dentist And Dental Team. That’s right, it is not just about the dentist. The dental team is just as important in maintaining a calm, soothing atmosphere. A well trained dentist and team can make you feel at ease throughout your dental treatment and actually make it an enjoyable experience. Ask friends or relatives for recommendations. A good review about a dentist from someone you trust can significantly reduce anxiety. Also, in the internet age read online reviews. These can let you get a better understanding of the dentist and how they treat their patients. Last, make an appointment for a consultation so that you can meet the dentist and staff to see if they make you feel comfortable enough to schedule an exam and cleaning.

-Communication. One of the most important factors in overcoming dental anxiety is a good, open line of communication between dentist and patient. You must always feel comfortable expressing your feelings, fears, and concerns before, during, and after treatment is rendered. You must also feel that the dental team is listening to you and making adjustments as needed. Communication should never be compromised for any patient but it is even more important for a patient with dental anxiety. This will allow you to feel a sense of comfort that you may have never felt in a dental office before.

-Feeling Of Being In Control. This comes from the confidence to stop or start treatment whenever you need to. You should always feel comfortable controlling your treatment.  Making treatment decisions based upon options, how long your appointments should be, and how often you are comfortable coming in for treatment. Another aspect to being in control is to give yourself the power of knowledge about your dental care. This will give you the ability to understand the steps of treatment, and why it is important for you to follow through. Being in control will allow you to properly express your feelings about how much treatment you can handle.

-Own Your Emotions. For many who have neglected their dental care due to fear there can be a sense of embarrassment. Express your feelings and allow your dentist to understand your feelings so they can be addressed properly. Panic, tears, needing your hand held, etc. are coping mechanisms to fear. It is ok to get emotional at the dental office. You can and should be able to express your emotions without embarrassment.

-Utilize Relaxation Techniques.  These can include:

1. Proper Breathing. Focus on breathing regularly and slowly during dental work. When people are feeling anxiety or nervousness we tend to hold our breaths, or breathe in short rapid breaths. This decreases oxygen levels in the body, or hyperventilation, further increasing our feelings of panic.

2. Wear Headphones. For many, the sound of the dental office is a trigger for dental anxiety. Using an ipod or mp3 player with headphones can drown out the noises and relax you.

3. Avoid Caffeine. Caffeine can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, This can trigger panic attacks, make you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or give you the feeling of a fast beating heart. Caffeine before a dental appointment should be avoided.

4. Choose Pre Dental Meals Carefully. Eating high-protein foods have the ability to produce a calming effect.

5. Timing Is Everything. The time of day for your dental appointment can be critical. Try to choose a time for your dental visit when you’ re least  likely to be rushed or feel under pressure.

-Repetition. The simple process of repeat appointments, will make you feel more comfortable and at ease. As you learn what to expect, and realize that you are in control of the appointment, you will be able to manage more time in the chair. Remember not to wait too long between appointments or to reschedule unless an emergency arises. Merely coming to the office and not having treatment that day is better than canceling.

-Predictable Pain Control. Every individual is slightly different. What may work for one may not work for another. Let your dentist know if you have a history of difficulty getting numb. Be sure to let your dentist know whether or not you still feel sensitivity, or lack of complete numbness. When you can trust that your comfort will be a priority, you will find that your anxiety rapidly diminishes.

Dental Anxiety Conclusion

Overcoming dental anxiety can be a trying experience. It is important to find the right dentist and dental team so that you can move forward and free yourself from dental anxiety once and for all. Know what you are looking for in a dentist, and be prepared with questions for your meeting. Remember, it is ok to shop around, you will know when you have found the right dentist for you!

It happens all the time, you are late for work and skip breakfast at home, so on your way to work you stop to pick up a donut and some coffee. This very common quick fix for

Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS

Choose Nutrition Wisely For Your Dental And General health!

breakfast can create havoc on your dental health if not treated properly following the meal.

The sugars in donuts have been identified as a risk factor for periodontal disease and tooth decay. Studies have shown that when comparing the sugars found in plain donuts with sugars found in oatmeal cookies. The studies discovered that the sugars in oatmeal cookies amount to only about 20% of the sugars in plain donuts.

The amount of sugar and cream in your coffee also can have a direct effect on the amount of cavity-causing bacteria. Tannins found in coffee can etch into the pits and grooves of the tooth enamel, producing a rough stained enamel surface.

How to Decrease the Effect of these Sugars on our Dental Health?

-Don’t slowly sip your coffee or pick at that donut throughout the entire morning. When you eat your donut in a timely manner, it limits the exposure time to the sugar bacteria attack.

-Rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste immediately after finishing your “breakfast”.

-Reduce the amount of cream and sugar in your coffee.

-Instead of a sugary breakfast, try picking up fruit, yogurt or a cup of oatmeal for your portable morning meal.

Healthy Options for On the Go breakfast

-Yogurt. Yogurt is quick, easy, and very good for you. Be sure to choose a low calorie yogurt as to not overload yourself with calories.

-Wrap. Use whole wheat wraps to make your own breakfast wrap using turkey, eggs, vegetables, or cheese are great for on the go. Quick and easy and very healthy for you.

-Egg Sandwich. Another good option as the protein from the eggs will be filling to tie you over to lunch time.

-Fruit. Make yourself a fruit salad for the week in advance. Easy snack anytime of the day but great in the morning. Always refreshing and nutritious.


Eating on the go is never easy and making the tough choices gets even harder when you are running late. Maintaining your dental hygiene takes a bit of discipline so next time you are running late think twice about that donut and coffee. It just might save you a trip to the dentist with a toothache down the road.

Maintaining good oral and general health requires us to keep the bad bacteria out of our bodies. Many of us have bad habits carried over from childhood that introduce us Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDSto harmful bacteria throughout our days.

The Dirty Dozen

1. Fingernails – Throughout the course of the day, our hands come in contact with a lot of dirty items. It is recommended we wash our hands before we eat and throughout our day to avoid catching colds or the flu. However, even hand washing can miss bacteria that lurks under the fingernails. This bacteria can easily be introduced into the body through the mouth when biting our nails. The best thing to do is to quit the habit, but it you are unable to, try to keep your nails as clean as possible, use a nail brush and pay extra attention to them when washing your hands.

2. Cigarettes, Cigars, Pipes (and tobacco products in general) –  smoking makes the list for the pure danger it is to our oral and overall health. Smoking  brings nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide into our mouths and bodies. Tobacco use is a leading cause in the development of oral cancer.

3. Soda Cans - Who hasn’t wiped a can off with a towel before drinking from it? The answer is, most of us! Think of all the people who handle cans and all of the dirty places a can may have been in, and now take a minute to clean it off before putting your mouth on it.  The top of a can is just a dirty place chock full of bacteria.

4. Pens/Pencils – This is a childhood habit that unfortunately continues into adulthood for many. Kids in school love to play with pens and pencils while at their desk idling away the hours at school. So the pens go from back pack to desk to falling on the floor and into our mouths and they are never cleaned. A good tip is to wipe down pens and pencils with an antibacterial wipe.

5. Double Dipping At A Party, and Birthday Cake - If someone double dips into a dip at a party they are introducing bacteria into the dip. This bacteria will then get passed onto everyone else that samples that dip throughout the evening. Now, think about how most people blow out birthday candles. They are pretty much, spitting all over the cake, especially kids. This will not only contribute to possible foodborne illnesses but also transmission of bacteria from person to person. A suggestion, take a lit candle off the cake and blow it out away from the direction of the cake.

6. Kissing –  The bacteria responsible for periodontal disease and tooth decay is transferrable. Luckily, by the time we are adults we have already been exposed to most of this type of bacteria. Obviously, this will not stop us from kissing our loved ones but be smart and proactive. Avoid kissing someone who is sick with a cough, a runny nose, or poor oral hygiene.

7. Toothbrushes – Studies have found that flushing the toilet can spew bathroom-related bacteria into the air. For this reason, it is a good idea to store your toothbrush in a cabinet, or covered, and far away from the potential contaminants.

Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS8. Water Bottle – Keeping healthy also means staying hydrated and drinking plenty of refreshing water. However, if you are using a reusable plastic water bottle you should be aware coliform (example E. coli) bacteria can coat the inside of the plastic bottle if not cleaned properly. Choose a wide-mouthed bottle for easier cleaning and drying, and choose a hard material that won’t get scratched during vigorous cleaning (example stainless steel). Along with regular washing, soak in a solution of bleach and water for two minutes once per week (and rinse and dry completely). As a side note, BPA is released from plastic bottles into the water, especially when the bottle gets heated, such as when left in the hot car or delivery truck. Try drinking from BPA free containers or glass.

9. Sharing Lipstick, Chapstick etc. – Whether it is sharing with friends or trying on a lipstick at the makeup counter. The bacteria, and viral buildup can be immense. Herpes can be transferred easily in this way. It is far safer to try the lipstick sample on the back of your hand to see its color.

10. Bar Snacks – These are notorious for being chock full of bacteria. Hand after hand reaching into the bowl. Many of those hands being unwashed especially after frequent trips to the bathroom. Steer clear of bar snacks unless you see the bartender put a fresh bowl out and you are the first one to indulge.

11. Biting off Tags, and Tearing Open Packages with Teeth - This may seem like an unlikely part of the list but clothing, and other items with tags,  ketchup packets, chip bags, etc. have been handled by many dirty hands. Most of us do not hesitate to put a bacteria ridden ketchup packet between our teeth and rip it open. There are so many items we place into our mouths without ever even thinking about how potentially dirty they could be.

12. Eating Food Off The Floor – Last but certainly not least, do not follow the 3 second rule! Any food that hits the floor should be thrown away. The floor is one of the dirtiest places in any location.


After reading the above list I’m sure you’ll think of quite a few other potentially dirty items that you may have exposed yourself to. Think about your hygiene, and the cleanliness of all items that go in your mouth, and you will keep yourself happier and healthier.