By the time a baby is a toddler they are already chewing/sucking on their thumbs. It is so common that pretty much everyone just expects their baby to suck on their thumbs. Whether or not people give their baby a pacifier, the thumb is a replacement pacifier. This is a calming measure that most toddlers develop. It soothes them and this habit is frequently carried into adulthood. It may not take the form of thumb-sucking, but that habit often develops and grows into a more unhealthy habit.
The habit often develops into chewing on other things like fingernails, pens, and even skin. We gnaw on things for many reasons but the most common reasons dentists agree on is stress. There are healthier ways to take care of our stress, and here are some reasons not to keep chewing.
Bruxism is a habit of people chewing on their gums or grinding their teeth overnight. Your jaw can be used to chewing on things during the day like fingernails or pencaps. So, when you’re asleep, your jaw wants to do the same thing! It is an unconscious response that is usually connected to stress. Bruxism can really cause damage to the inside of the mouth. The teeth can become weak and brittle. The gums can become destroyed and susceptible to infection. There have even been studies where people who consciously stop chewing during the day, then they gradually stop chewing at night.
Wearing Down Enamel.
Biting your nails is bad not only for your fingers, but bad for your enamel. The layers can be stripped quickly. Even worse can be chewing on a pencap all day. As the enamel is being stripped down the enamel is getting weaker. This can cause teeth to crack or decay and even cause gum disease. If you ever noticed your teeth becoming sensitive then it is probably due to the breaking down of the enamel. People should immediately stop biting on anything other than food if they are finding their teeth weakening.
The fastest way germs enter a body is through the mouth. People know to wash their hands after using the bathroom or preparing to eat food. And usually most people are pretty good at that. But, people who chew on materials around them are just throwing a welcome party for germs to enter their bodies. The germs can enter right into the bloodstream and attack the body. It is best to stop putting things if you are already doing this.