7 Reasons Why Nail Biting is Bad

· November 2, 2016
While many people may not realize it but there are several dangers to nail biting. Doing so can lead to infectious diseases, pain and lack of nail growth.

Other than being an aesthetic problem, nail biting may result in health complications such as bacteria and deformed fingers.

Onychophagia, commonly known as nail biting, is a habitual problem at any age. 

In this article we will explain why it’s bad to bite your nails and why you should refrain from doing so.

Reasons for nail biting


Nail biting is a habit that thousands of people have and they developed during their childhood. Even though the majority of us have passed through this phase, some people have maintained the habit through the years.

One of the most outstanding characteristics of this habit is that we do not notice that we are doing it. In other words, we are doing this unconsciously while watching television, traveling in the metro or in line at the supermarket.

Nail biting is a very difficult habit to breakEven though we know that it is not attractive to do so, we continue to hurt out fingers and even stop from doing something to remove the last morsel of nail.

In many cases, doing so provides our minds with an escape from our problems, worries and negative feelings.

Controlling anxiety and stress also tend to be reasons why people bite their nails. After doing it for so long, this habit becomes similar to a nervous tic, uncontrollable and a daily routine.

Also read: Japanese techniques to relieve stress

How do I stop biting my nails?

To stop biting their nails, many women take into account the aesthetic. In the case of men, it is a bit more complicated but not impossible.

Maybe you have tried bitter tasting nail enamel and bandaging your nails but neither seem to work.

Although we know that these habits cause problems, many times we need other types of incentives to be able to stop bad habits, as we do with smoking or drinking alcohol.

Nail biting affects nail growth as much as their structure. This results in small cracks in the different layers of the nail. Because of this, nails form unequally and do not cover the entire surface of the finger.

What effects does nail biting have?

Among the consequences of having this habit, we can include two groups: the physical and the psychological or emotional.

In either case, these consequences are worth taking into account if we want to stop biting our nails once and for all:

Lack of nail growth


When the nail is bitten far down, it grows back inadequately and at a very slow pace. This, for example, prevents the fingers from looking nice and affects the physical beauty of the hands.


The pain is unbearable when picking up an object, opening an envelope, using tools, typing on the computer or using the cell phone. We cannot carry out our daily activities in an effective manner. When our fingers touch any item, it paralyzes us.

Bacterial diseases

The fingernails are an ideal place to spread all types of bacteria. The fingers are constantly manipulating objects that can be contaminated and dirty.

The most common types of bacteria that develop under the nails are salmonella and E. Coli, which are both transmitted through raw foods.

When we put our fingers in our mouth, the microorganisms automatically pass to the mucous, which from there pass directly into our body, where they cause harm.

Nevertheless, some people who bite their nails have a stronger immune system credited precisely to the ingestion of these bacteria. The body learned to defend itself against these and does not fall ill.

Dental problems


Front teeth are mainly those that bite the nails. This increases the wearing out of the edges of the teeth and increases the sensitivity of the teeth. Doing so also wears down tooth enamel.

On top of this, our habit can also cause malocclusion, which is poor dental alinement. It can also cause chewing problems and sleeping problems if the mouth does not close completely.

Emotional factors

A typical habit of a nail biter is to hide their hands. The truth is that no one likes to have people see their bitten or broken nails.

Among the emotional consequences of this habit are shame, low self esteem, frustration and sadness.

Visit this article: How to combat sadness in a natural way

Joint Pain 


Even though it sounds strange, this obsession causes pain in the neck and the jaw due to the force that the muscles must exert to remove the nail fragments.

Infectious Disease

When you bite your nails you are more susceptible to suffer from a disease known as paronychia.  This is a disease of the fingers that causes swelling, redness and production of pus.

It develops when bacteria enters in the fissures and tears in the skin.

Fungus is also frequent when the flesh of the fingers is in the open air and the nail does not protect the skin.

As you can see there are several dangers to biting your nails.