I admit that writing this article feels slightly hypocritical. I was an OBSESSIVE nail biter for years, and it took many attempts at trying to stop before I finally did. I remember the moment I realized just how gross it was; I was in Argentina on exchange and I remember my hands getting grubby, and biting my nails meant I was ingesting all that ick. Since that moment I have never bitten them and I regret not stopping sooner! There are many health reasons why you should stop biting and a few superficial ones too, which I have endeavoured to explain below:
It looks gross
I don’t know about you, but the sight of someone with their fingers constantly in their mouth is a bit yuk, not only this but it looks unprofessional to come into work or a job interview with nails bitten down past the skin. Imagine being on the receiving end of a handshake from someone who has just been biting their nails, it’s just icky!
Nail biting is unhealthy
Biting can rip and tear your nails, nail beds, and cuticles, which can cause bleeding and allows bacteria to get in and potentially cause infections. Richard Scher, a dermatologist at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, says as well as everyday germs you could have salmonella and E.coli hidden under your nails. So not only are you eating your nails, but you are potentially ingesting these harmful diseases. STOP BITING NOW PLEASE! No matter how clean you insist your hands are, they are the primary point for touching everything, and your fingernails are twice as dirty as your hands/fingers. Thus biting allows prime access for the germs from everything you have touched recently into your body. Ew!
You can cause permanent damage
If the risk of E.coli, salmonella, and looking downright gross whilst doing it hasn’t turned you off nail biting, surely this will! By constantly biting your nails you can cause permanent damage not only to your nails, but to your teeth too! Over time biting your nails can cause nail deformities and lack of growth in the nails. Personally I struggled for years after stopping biting my nails with how weak my nails were, they would split and rip constantly. It takes a lot of hard work to nurse nails back to health after you stop biting them, if you are lucky enough for it not to have caused permanent damage. Nail biting means that your teeth are constantly chewing, which they aren’t supposed to do, meaning that they get worn down much quicker than they should. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), nail biting can result in up to $4,000 in additional dental bills over one lifetime. Finally biting puts a lot of stress on your front teeth, which can weaken them and contribute to your teeth become crooked or misaligned
Hopefully this has been enough to make any of you biters out there decide to stop. As for ways to stop there are many, chuck a comment below with a method that has helped for you!
– Mette Jorgensen