Nail Biters Beware!

We’ve all been caught at some point in our lives with our fingers in our mouth, either nipping at a hang nail with our teeth or tearing at the skin on our fingers. Well next time, think before you put those fingers near your lips. Biting your nails or skin is just asking for germs and bacteria. Not only does it look awful and embarrassing (coming from a former nail biter) but it is hazardous to our health.

elle-beauty-nails-mdn-mdnBiting and picking ones nails often begins during childhood, and continues through to adolescents. However, 5% of those retain the habit through adulthood. It is often associated with stress, anxiety, boredom and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Studies show that your nails are more than twice as dirty as your hands.

People who bite their nails don’t typically wash their hands and scrub under their nails with a brush before biting, so there is a high probability for bacteria and other harmful microbes inside the mouth.

Acute or chronic infection to the mouth, lips, gums and fingers is very likely to happen. Research also shows that bacterias that cause vomiting, diarrhea and gastroenteritis were offered found under people’s nails. Many different bacterias also live in our mouths, transferring them to our open wounds on our fingers and cuticles sometimes causing severe infection. My client’s son was a severe nail biter and they had to bring him to the hospital to treat his severely infected nail and cuticle. He had to walk around for a week with a drain attached to his finger full of gauze. Nothing I had ever seen before… Needless to say, he never bit his nails again.

Over time, a nail bitter can develop tooth and gum issues. It can cause damage to the structure of your teeth and their alignment. Most adolescents who bite will probably need braces. The hard surface of the nail can eventually wear away the enamel,making it more susceptible to decay, chips and cracks.

Breaking the bad habit

There are many different was to stop this terrible habit.

It takes a lot of mental control and discipline and a conscious decision and effort. Controlling triggers is key. Here are a few tips to try.

  • Ask a friend to point out when you are biting… Sometimes it’s happening and you are not even conscious of it. For Kids, you could make a nail biting jar and tell them they have to put money in it every time,energy you catch them.
  • Use distractions, like chewing gum or squeezing stress balls. Keeps hands and mouth busy.

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  • Apply a nail biters nail polish, like Orly No Bite. Tastes awful, but it works!
  • HAVE MANICURES… This will start the nail clean up and will look good so you are deterred from chewing. When the nails look good we want to keep them that way

I have to be honest, it was quite easy for me to quit. I read an article published in a local paper about a young student who did her science fair project on nail bacteria. Her best friend was a terrible nail biter so she swabbed her friend’s nails and swabbed the toilet bowl at the local fast food establishment.

Her studies showed that there was ten times more bacteria under her nails than on a public toilet bowl.

EWW! Need I say more… So next time you or your children seem to be biting, just imagine yourself picking the public toilet!

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