Health Tips

Biting your nails: Causes and consequences

Biting your nails is bad for your health. A habit called onychophagia, common in 10% of adults who, possibly are unaware of the risks involved. Biting your nails is much more than an aesthetic problem of the hands. What are its causes and consequences? Keep reading and write down the reasons to stop biting your nails right away.

nail biting

Biting the nails is a behavior or gesture that we usually learn in childhood, although it is true that age does not prevent us from resorting to this habit. Nervous tics that appear in childhood – such as blinking, tongue twitching, nose twitching, etc. – usually disappear as the child enters adolescence. In a percentage of cases, around 8% according to doctors, nervous tics remain in adulthood. Biting your nails is just one of them.

Why we bite our nails?

According to specialists, we bite our nails to relieve anxiety or nervous tension, not knowing that we are putting at risk our own nails, fingers and teeth. As with other recurring gestures, such as biting our lips, pulling our hair or cracking our joints, we do not always associate them with health risks.

In some cases, nail biting becomes a habit even in times of boredom.

Consequences of nail biting

  • Eat the nails excessively will prevent them from growing properly over time.
  • Injuries to its matrix, located below the cuticle, the thin line of skin that protects the area surrounding the interior of the nail (the so-called periungual one).
  • Inflammation in the area surrounding the nails.
  • The fingers tend to fill with wounds, especially when anxiety leads to eating the nails and the skin of the fingers.
  • Teeth become worn and the continuous gesture will damage the tooth enamel.
  • Greater risk of growth of bacteria, viruses or fungi in the fingers and in the mouth. Virus infections can include papilloma and cause the appearance of warts.

How to avoid nails biting?

Preventing onychophagia as a nervous gesture involves identifying those situations that lead us to bite our nails.
It is advisable to take some exercise or relaxation therapy and rely on the help of others to get our attention when we fall into this habit.

In the case of children, it is not a question of reproaching, but to explain why they should stop biting their nails.