Nail Biting Vs. Thumb Sucking: Which Is Worse For Your Child?

finger suckingMany people have bad habits, but some bad habits can be problematic for your health. Two of the most common habits seen in kids are thumb sucking and nail biting.

Both nail biting and thumb sucking have been proven to help expose kids to weakened allergens at an early age, which helps to reduce their chances of developing allergies. But after the age of four, these habits often do more harm than good.

That said, which of these two bad habits is really the worse habit for your child to have? Nail biting or thumb sucking?

Is nail biting worse than thumb sucking?

Up to 95% of babies will suck their thumbs out of reflex. Only when a child continues to suck their thumb after the age of three or four does the reflex become a habit.

Nail biting is a habit that can stem from thumb sucking because your child has become accustomed to having their fingers in their mouth. Both nail biting and thumb sucking are just two of the common nervous habits kids can develop.

Nail biting can be dangerous for both children and adults. While biting the nail itself isn’t a problem, the bacteria that can enter the body is. There are up to 3,200 bacteria on the average person’s hands.

When a person bites their nails, the bacteria from their hands can end up in their mouth and in their intestinal tract. This is dangerous because bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli can lurk beneath the tips of your nails.

However, nail biting isn’t necessarily worse than thumb sucking. Both habits can be problematic in their own way. For instance, thumb sucking also introduces bacteria into your child’s body and the suction from your child’s mouth can alter the shape of your child’s teeth and thumbnail.

Fortunately, both habits can be broken with time and patience.

How can I get my child to stop finger sucking?

While nail biting may be a more challenging habit to stop, you can help your child stop finger sucking by using a thumb sucking appliance like the TGuard finger guard. Thumb sucking deterrents help to prevent the sucking sensation that makes your child enjoy sucking their thumb. To learn more about finger guards for kids and how thumb sucking appliances can help, contact TGuard today.