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Last Updated: Jan 10, 2023

Nail Biting - Stop! Do You Know It Is Dangerous For Your Health?

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Dr. Dinesh Chandra PantGeneral Physician • 52 Years Exp.DOMS, MBBS
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People are often seen biting their nails in situations mostly when they are nervous or scared. But this habit of nail biting is extremely dangerous to health. Nail biting, also called onychophagy or onychophagia in a medical dictionary, is a sign of tumult and confusion, which leads to nervousness. In addition, this habit also disrupts the natural growth of nails.

Reasons why you must stop biting your nails:

  1. Biting your nails helps the germs and bacteria enter directly into your mouth and then to your stomach. This is the reason kids are taught to wash hands properly with soap before and after meals.
  2. This habit can raise the risk of ingrown nails (nails growing under the skin) or hangnails (open sores that can easily get infected), such problems are cured only through surgery.
  3. It is bad for your oral health, as your teeth may start chipping or breaking. Plus, germs in your fingers could infect your gums, causing bad breath.
  4. Biting can spoil the shape of your nails and slows down the actual growth.
  5. If you have a wart, biting your fingernails raises the risk of spreading warts to other parts of your hands.

Now that you are aware of the harmful effects of biting nails, here are few tips to help you avoid biting your nails:

  1. Keep them short: People tend to bite nails when they are long. Thus, keeping short nails will prevent nail biting. 
  2. Keep yourself busy: Often people bite their nails when they are sitting idle. Keeping yourself busy helps you to forget the habit, and eventually overcome the habit.
  3. Start using chewing gum: Another useful trick to prevent nail biting is to start chewing a gum.
  4. Gradually stop biting your nails: Some doctors recommend taking a gradual approach in order to break the habit, begin with one set of nails, you can go ahead with your thumbnails first. Once you are successful, gradually move on to other fingernails.

As per a study, it has been found that almost 70% of people have the habit of biting nails. After reading this article, they must realize the fact that nail-biting is extremely dangerous not only for your nails but for your overall health. Following the aforementioned tips can help you get rid of this habit. Of course, it will take time for you to stop this bad habit of nail-biting. But the fact is that it will save you from many diseases. It will also give your nails an even growth and beautiful appearance. In case of a query, you can consult an expert and get answers to your questions.


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