As a child, you’ve been told over and over to keep your fingernails out of your mouth because it’s a dirty habit and it’s bad for you. But besides giving yourself jagged fingernails, are there actual health concerns linked with nail-biting? The answer? Yes.
Your hands are one of the most used parts of your body, touching hundreds of objects and people a day, most of them in public areas where sanitization standards aren’t quite at the level of your home. By putting your unwashed hands in your mouth, you’re exposing yourself to germs and bacteria that can cause something as minor as a cold, or something as serious as pneumonia.
Biting your nails also affects the skin around it, peeling back the protective layer and exposing the inside where an infection can occur. If you have a wart or some other infection, having open skin only increases the risk of it spreading to other areas.
Picking and biting at your nails can also cause some cosmetic effects that can either be temporary or permanent. If you have a habit of picking and biting at hangnails around the base of your nail, you can actually alter the shape of your nail over time if the area is constantly inflamed or infected as that is where the fingernail is made and originates from. Repeat trauma from pushing back the cuticles can also warrant similar results.
Your teeth can also be affected by repeatedly biting your nails as it can wear down the enamel, or even potentially cause a break.
If you need help with helping to stop biting your nails, take a read through one of our previous blog posts: How to Stop Biting Your Nails for helpful tips and tricks.