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Nail biting: Does it cause long-term damage?



Does biting your nose cause long-term nail damage?

Answers by Lawrence E. Gibson, MD

Although unhygienic, it is unlikely that chronic biting of the nails (onychophagia) causes long-term nail damage.

Nails are formed in the nail bed – just below the point where the U-shaped cuticles begin. As long as the nail bed remains intact, nail biting is unlikely to affect the growth of the fingernail. In fact, some research suggests that nail biting could even promote faster nail growth.

However, biting your nails is not without its risks. For example, biting nails:

  • can damage the cuticle and increase the risk of infection
  • increase the risk of colds and other infections by spreading germs from the fingers to the mouth
  • damaging the teeth [19659009] Apply Contact your doctor or psychiatrist if you have any concerns about biting a nail. To stop nail biting, he or she may suggest the following:

    • Avoiding factors that cause nail biting, such as: Overstimulation.
    • Taking healthy measures, well-groomed
    • Employ your hands or mouth with alternative activities, such as: B. playing a musical instrument or chewing gum.
    • Apply a bitter-tasting varnish to the nails to prevent biting.

    In some cases, treatment with behavioral therapy may be required.

    Updated: 2017-07-15

    Release date: 2017-07-15


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