Nail biting is a common nervous habit that many people do. In fact, most of us may not actively realize we have our fingers in our mouths. It is typically a self-soothing behavior for anxiety. However, it can have more consequences than you realize. Beyond the look of broken or bitten nails, there are several reasons why you might want to stop the habit.
Oral Health Implications
When you bite your nails, you are placing excess pressure on your teeth. For most people, they bite their nails with their front teeth. These teeth are not as strong as your other teeth. This is because the incisors are meant to slice into food rather than chew. As a result, nail biting can potentially lead to chips or cracks in your teeth.
Constant nail biting can damage your enamel over time. It causes premature wear and tear on your teeth. Over time, it can wear down your enamel. This can make your teeth more susceptible to decay and sensitivity.
Another area where your mouth can suffer is your gums. Nail biting can irritate and damage your gum tissue. Over time, this can potentially lead to gum recession. It can even cause increased sensitivity. Additionally, biting your nails can introduce bacteria and other germs into your mouth. When you bite your nails, you can increase your risk of oral infections and oral health issues.
Unless you constantly wash your hands, you may unknowingly pass bacteria from your hands to your mouth. Nails harbor dirt, bacteria, and germs from many of the surfaces you touch. Unfortunately, you can transfer these to your mouth through nail biting. As a result, you can increase your chances of becoming ill. You may potentially introduce harmful bacteria into your mouth. This can potentially lead to illness and infection.
Along with oral infections, you can even cause damage to your skin. Chewing on the skin around your nails can lead to soreness or bleeding. You may even cause an open wound around your fingertips. This can lead to nail infections. Skin infections can cause pain, redness, and swelling around the nail bed.
Of course, biting your nails causes physical damage to your skin. However, it can even cause issues with your emotional wellness. Many people bite their nails due to stress or anxiety. While it may be an unconscious habit, it can exacerbate your anxious feelings.
You can help break the cycle of nail biting by recognizing the triggers. This is truly the first step towards breaking the habit. You can find healthier habits or coping mechanisms to help you stop biting your nails. For example, you can try chewing sugar-free gums to redirect your urge to bite your nails.
Another issue with nail biting is in the social arena. Some people have a negative perception of nail biting. As a result, this may create an unfavorable impression of you. It can even affect your professional image or social interactions. However, breaking the habit can boost your confidence.