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Here’s How to Stop Biting Your Nails: Reasons, Side Effects and Controlling Nail Biting

Other Diseases By Vani Malik , Onlymyhealth editorial team / Jun 21, 2019
Here’s How to Stop Biting Your Nails: Reasons, Side Effects and Controlling Nail Biting

Most of the people, knowingly or unknowingly bite their nails. This habit is not just disastrous for nail health but also leads to other health problems

As per a report in an International newspaper, a girl in the UK had to go in for thumb amputation when she developed rare skin cancer due to biting of nails. As mentioned in the report, Courtney Whithorn was a victim of bullying and bit her nails whenever anxiety hit her. As per her reports, she had acral lentiginous subungual melanoma due to which she had to undergo a significant treatment. However, nail biting starts as a reason for something as silly as boredom. Even though such cases are rare and have no apparent sources of direct relation to biting of nails, but this habit can lead to several other health problems as well.

Nail biting is a common habit found in people of all age groups. Most people don’t even realise when they get habituated to nail biting. It not just looks unhygienic but is a gateway to other health problems as well. Also known as onychophagy in medical terms, this oral compulsive habit can be tough to change or leave. Nail biting can also be a reason for stress and anxiety in an individual. There are several reasons for which one should put an end to nail biting:

  • Unhealthy nail health: Constant biting of nails can make them brittle, preventing them from growing after a certain length. At times, nail biting can also lead to the stripping of nails, which can lead to excessive pain in the nails. Also, the skin around the nails becomes uneven, rough and also bleeds in some cases. 
  • Lead to other health problems: When you bite your nails, you bring germs in direct contact your mouth. This can lead to several viral and bacterial infections in the body.

Causes of Nail Biting

There is no definite cause of nail biting discovered but can be a reason for several psychological problems like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or due to stress and anxiety. At times, it is also a reason for boredom and short attention span, either while working, studying or just sitting while sitting idle.

Also read: Here’s What the Colour of Your Tongue Reveals About Your Health

Side Effects of Nail Biting

Following are some of the side effects that one can encounter due to biting of nails:

  • Redness and soreness in the skin surrounding the nails
  • Irregular growth of nails
  • Brittle nails enabling them to grow after a certain length

Home Remedies to Stop Nail Biting

The habit of biting nails cannot be stopped suddenly. It takes ample time and some necessary precautions to control nail biting:

  • Keep them short: Those habituated to bite nails should ensure that their nails are short and entirely cut every time. There is a simple logic behind this: if the nails are already short, there will be no need and urge to bite nails.
  • Pungent flavour in nails: It seems odd, but it works best in kids. Kids suffering from this habit should be treated with great care. It is best to put a pungent flavour in your kid’s nail, like a hint of chilli, to stop your child from biting nails. 
  • Manicures: Regularly maintaining your nails and going in for manicures will keep you away from biting your nails. When someone spends money on something, it is bound to happen that extra care is taken to maintain it. 
  • Know your triggers: To put an end to this habit, observe when and why does the need arise to bite your nails. Once the trigger is known, it is easier to control such habits. Ensure that your hands are away from your face and mouth when in a bad mood.

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