How to Stop Your Nail Biting Habit

How to Stop Your Nail Biting Habit: Biting the nails and the skin of the fingers: risks and tips to stop this bad habit: Infections, wounds, and bleeding can occur, not to mention the unsightly nails gnawed blood! Here we explain why you should not eat your nails and give you tips that work to get rid of this bad habit.
How to Stop Your Nail Biting Habit

Infections, wounds, and bleeding can occur, not to mention the unsightly nails gnawed blood! Here we explain why you should not eat your nails and give you tips that work to get rid of this bad habit. The habit of biting your nails is called onychophagy. It is one of the most widespread compulsive habits. It is often during childhood that this habit develops. It usually disappears or subsides during adolescence, but it can happen that it never leaves or that it develops completely in adulthood.

What are the causes of onychophagia?

Since the habit of putting our fingers to our mouth can go back to our youngest age, the causes that cause us to bite our nails can be multiple. Among the causes most often mentioned, we find:

anxiety; a moment of discomfort or temporary stress; a habit during a moment of concentration or reflection; boredom; a simple habit. Namely, young children can sometimes adopt this behavior simply by imitation.

Why should we never eat our nails and cuticles?

There is, of course, the unattractive side of having nails gnawed and fingers with sores. But above all, the fingers and the nails are vectors of germs.

Risks of contamination

We manipulate objects, door handles, stair railings, shaking hands with other people ... These are all situations where our hands are possibly in contact with viruses and bacteria in circulation.

Bringing our fingers to our mouth, therefore, increases the chances of getting the flu, contracting bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli and can lead to problems ranging from diarrhea to nausea.

If you bite your nails, we can only recommend that you wash your hands frequently! This will not completely prevent the risk of contamination but the risk will decrease at least a little.

Risks of infections

But also, in the most severe cases of onychophagia, there is a risk that wounds appear around the nails and cuticles and that they become infected.

It can also lead to infections of the mouth and gums. In extreme cases, there are even problems of deformation of the teeth or loosening of the teeth.

How to stop biting your nails?

Losing the mania of biting your nails can sometimes be difficult, but it's not impossible! There are several tips, the effectiveness of which varies from person to person. That's why it's essential to try it until you find the one that works for us.

Understand where this habit comes from

In the first place, it is important to understand where this habit comes from and what causes it. It will then be easier to target the tricks that will be effective. In what situation (s) do you go to nails? What is your state of mind at this time? If you feel stressed or anxious, you might consider techniques to reduce anxiety, such as meditation or breathing exercises. If it's boredom, you might find mechanisms to keep your hands busy.

Some tips to stop biting your nails

  • Keep your nails short, which can decrease the temptation to gnaw them.
  • Get a manicure. Having beautiful nails and paying for the manicure can help control the urge to nibble.
  • Get false nails or opt for gel varnish, stronger and thicker than conventional polish, which will make nails more difficult to gnaw.
  • Use bitter varnishes, available in pharmacies. Their infectious taste is very dissuasive.
  • Put bandages on your fingertips. This tip is to be reserved for days spent at home if we do not want our hands to become a center of attention, but it allows not having direct access to our fingers.
  • Take care of your mouth while eating sweets or gum.
  • Take care of your hands in moments of boredom, for example by playing with an anti-stress ball.
  • Because it happens that we eat our nails without even paying attention, ask our entourage to notify us when done.
  • Reduce our stress causing onychophagia and turn to meditation, breathing techniques or physical exercise.
  • Turn to professional help

In more severe cases, or if one loses control over this habit, it is sometimes better to consult a professional such as a psychologist or a therapist to better identify the source of the problem and solve it.

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