Sara Guidry was curious when she saw a little white spike poking out of her son Kale’s gums.
The mother-of-two grabbed a pair of tweezers, pulled – discovered the tiny piece was actually a piece of fingernail.
She videotaped the toe-curling extraction of more than 30 nails from the roof of Kale’s mouth and the tiny gaps in between his teeth.
Guidry, of Larose, Louisiana, shared the video on Facebook to caution other parents not to let their child bite their nails, as studies show it can lead to dentistry problems down the line.
Sara Guidry, of Larose, Louisiana, was shocked when she pulled more than 30 fingernails out of her son Kale’s gums. He had been biting his nails and shoving the bits in his mouth
The mother-of-two shared the video on Facebook to warn other parents of letting their child bite their nails because studies show it can lead to dentistry problems down the line
She wrote: ‘The dentist has never seen anything like this. We figured out that Kale bites his nails and plays with them in his mouth. He pushes them up towards his pallet.
‘The nail penetrates the skin and goes into a pocket between the baby teeth and permanent teeth. Don’t let your children bite their nails!’
Apart from the squeamish task of pulling jammed nails from gums, nail biting is not a healthy practice.
According to the American Dental Association, the bad habit could lead to torn or damaged gum tissue caused by sharp fingernail edges.
If there is dirt or bacteria on the nail, it could lead to the spread of bacteria in the mouth and vice versa to the exposed nail bed.
Those who bite their nails are more prone to grinding of the teeth, a medical condition called bruxism.
Many sufferers are not aware that anything is wrong until they need treatment for cracked teeth or tension headaches – or are alerted by disgruntled partners who have been woken by the noise.
A study from the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 2008, found that 75 percent of children referred to a mental health clinic who had nail biting problems had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Guidry first noticed something was unusual when she saw a tiny white object poking out of her son’s gums. She wrote: ‘The dentist has never seen anything like this. We figured out that Kale bites his nails and plays with them in his mouth. He pushes them up towards his pallet’
And 36 percent had opposition defiant disorder.
The reason for nail biting varies from person to person.
One psychologist claims it could be a distraction from negative feelings – and managing stress and anxiety could help kick the habit.
Some consider nail-biting a mere habit, while others view it as a fully-fledged obsessive-compulsive disorder.
However, not all experts agree that nail biting is always due to psychological distress.
A Canadian study in 2015 found that at the frowned-upon habit could in fact be a sign of perfectionism – and not anxiety.
In tests, participants were more likely to start nibbling when frustrated and bored – both feelings commonly associated with perfectionists
For most people, the effects are cosmetic: they are left with unattractive nails and bleeding skin.
It is considered severe when the habit becomes destructive – when it impairs use of the hands or leads to repeated infections.
Doctors advise if people are biting their nails, picking their skin or pulling out their hair to the point where they are damaging their bodies they should seek professional help.