Discover What Triggers Your Nail Biting
There are many reasons why people bite their nails, but people arent always conscious about why they do it.
One of the most important steps in overcoming this habit is to identify what triggers you to bite your nails.
Is it when youre feeling anxious? When youre bored? Or maybe you start nibbling when you want to forget a certain feeling e.g. anger?
A good way to do this is to keep a journal a notes app on your phone is ok too! Just try to jot down when you bite your nails and how youre feeling / what youre doing.
This will help you to identify any patterns so that you can try and change your reaction to any nail-biting triggers, e.g. filing your nails into a nice shape when youre worried instead of biting them all off.
How To Stop Biting Your Nails
How to stop biting your nails
Nail biting typically begins in childhood and can continue through adulthood, and the side effects can be more than cosmetic. Repeated nail biting can make the skin around your nails feel sore, and it can damage the tissue that makes nails grow, resulting in abnormal-looking nails. To help you stop biting your nails, dermatologists recommend following these tips.
Nail biting typically begins in childhood and can continue through adulthood, and the side effects can be more than cosmetic. Repeated nail biting can make the skin around your nails feel sore, and it can damage the tissue that makes nails grow, resulting in abnormal-looking nails. Chronic nail biting can also leave you vulnerable to infection as you pass harmful bacteria and viruses from your mouth to your fingers and from your nails to your face and mouth.
To help you stop biting your nails, dermatologists recommend the following tips:
Keep your nails trimmed short. Having less nail provides less to bite and is less tempting.
Apply bitter-tasting nail polish to your nails. Available over-the-counter, this safe, but awful-tasting formula discourages many people from biting their nails.
Get regular manicures. Spending money to keep your nails looking attractive may make you less likely to bite them. Alternatively, you can also cover your nails with tape or stickers or wear gloves to prevent biting.
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I Wanted To Bite My Nails So Badly Today
Actually, I didnt.
Thats the thing that Ive found so bizarre about how I quit biting and picking my nails. I literally just quit at the age of 50 after biting and picking them since I was probably 8 years old. I certainly bit them from age 10 when my mum paid me $10 to quit and she got a refund when I started biting them again.
After about 8 weeks of not biting my nails, I have 0 desire to bite or pick them at all. None.
So why the title I Wanted To Bite My Nails So Badly Today? This is the wording that I used to think Id constantly say to myself if I ever did manage to quit. I assumed Id have a really difficult time quitting for good. But it hasnt worked out that way, thankfully.
Other Ways To Discourage Nail Biting Among Children
Apart from using bitter nail polish, there are several other ways for how to break the nail biting habit in your child. Here are a few ways to stop the nail biting habit:
- Cut their nails: When you regularly cut your kids nails, the surface area under the nail is reduced. As a result, there will be less bacteria that can get into the mouth. Always have a small nail clipper handy. When the nails overstay their welcome, it will be hard for your kids to resist biting them.
- Look for something else they can put in their mouth. As long as it isnt a sugary snack, anything is great. Pacifiers can work as a great substitute for toddlers.
- Provide positive reinforcement and encouragement to them throughout the day when they are not biting.
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When And How To Remove Fake Nails
If you decide that nail tips are not for you, or if you are ready to have them removed to reveal your natural nails, make sure that the job is done professionally. If you try to do it yourself, all of your hard work will likely be undone because the nail underneath will be particularly soft and could tear off. This will take some time to heal, as nails need to grow out to become longer and healthier.
According to Grant, how you remove a fake nail depends on what type of nail it is. Here’s the down-low on removing the most frequently-used types of nails.
Think Of All Those Germs
You put what in where!?
When you think about it, nail biting is pretty unhygienic.
Its highly unlikely that you will wash your hands every time before you start nibbling your nails, meaning youre transferring germs from everything youve touched into your mouth.
This can expose you to illnesses.
So next time youre tempted to bite your nails, take a second to think about all those potential germs lurking on your fingers and maybe just go and wash your hands instead!
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How To Break A Nail
In the last post, we discussed the negative effects that nail-biting can have on your have on your oral and general health, and we promised that wed chime in soon with some strategies for helping you break this common habit. We all know, of course, that breaking long-time habits is more easily said than done. Everyone is different, and most people will probably find it most effective to use a combination of strategies to kick this habit to the curb.
How A New Mindfulness Techniqueand Some Really Good Polishhelped Me Kick My Nail Biting Habit
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Before we were married my husband and I were waiting on the tarmac to take-off somewhere when he leaned over and whispered, dont bite your nails. I spun on him, eyes narrowed, and hissed, mind your own business in a tone so full of venom that we both burst out laughing. Whats a nervous tick if not a part of who you are?
Being a nail biter has always felt like something that happened to me. I didnt decide to bite my nails, but for as long as I can remember, theyve been gnawed to a bare minimum. When I was little my mother conquered thumb-sucking with a drop of Tabasco under my nail at bedtime, yet even this nuclear tactic did not prevent a lifetime of biting. So I hit the senior prom with nibbled tips, and as a fashion reporter, I reliably attended the couture showsahemwithout a manicure. On my wedding day, I wore the same look.
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When It’s Time To Seek Help:
If all else fails, you might want to consider finding a therapist, as nail-biting can be a sign or symptom of a more serious problem such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or another anxiety disorder though it’s also important to note that the behavior can occur outside of these conditions. Regardless, if your nail-biting is causing significant distress or dysfunction, it might be time to seek help, Berry stresses. “If there are underlying issues like anxiety that are triggering the habit, those should be addressed,” Dr. Zeicher adds.
And of course, if you experience any consequences in your health due to your nail-biting habit, a visit to the dermatologist might also be warranted. “If you are biting your nails and develop any red, swollen, or tender areas of skin, visit your dermatologist right away to evaluate whether you have developed an infection that needs treatment,” advises Dr. Zeichner.
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Reasons To Stop Biting Your Nails
Many people have nervous habits, such as pacing or fidgeting, and although many are harmless, if you bite your nails when youre stressed or anxious, you are actually at risk for some ailments. Texas A& M University Health Science Center experts offer five reasons why you should kick this habit.
There are a lot of germs under your fingernails
Even if you wash your hands frequently, its difficult to get all the germs and dirt from under your nails. So just imagine what youre exposing your body to whenever you give these germs and dirt free access to your mouth. Yuck.
Once the germs that were under your fingernails get into your body, your chances of illness increase significantly. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and pay extra attention to your nails.
It increases risk of infection
Biting your nails increases the risk of paronychia, an infection of the nail. Symptoms of paronychia include a painful, red, swollen area around the nail, often at the cuticle or at the site of a hangnail or other injury. If the infection is bacterial, there may be pus-filled blisters at the site.
Also, if you chew on nails that have wartswhich are caused by a virusand then chew on other nails, this can cause warts to spread to other areas.
Its bad for your teeth
Also, the bacteria that is on your fingers or nails can linger in your mouth and cause halitosis, or bad breath.
You can have more hangnails or ingrown nails
Theres a risk of toxic poisoning
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Is Nail Biting Actually That Bad
Heres the thing: Some viruses live on surfaces and when we touch those spots and then touch our eyes, nose, or mouths, we run the risk of helping those germs get into our bodies, Philip Tierno, Ph.D., microbiologist and clinical professor of pathology at NYU Langone, previously told SELF. Its not a given that biting your nails will make you sick more frequently than those who dont, but putting your fingers in your mouth isnt doing your immune system any favors.
But even if youre not thinking about germs, biting your fingernails can also cause damage to your nail bed, the Mayo Clinic explains. This can leave tiny cuts that put you at greater risk for bacteria and fungus to hang out and cause infections, the Mayo Clinic says. Biting your fingernails can also potentially damage your teeth, according to the Mayo Clinic. All of that means its best to keep your fingernails out of your mouth. So, how to do that you may wonder?
Make Your Nails Taste Bad
If something tastes bad, youre not going to want to put it in your mouth, right? Try applying this to your fingernails.
Not only can it help you associate the habit with something negative, it can also put a stop to absent-minded nail biting because sometimes you wont even realise youre biting your nails until its too late.
There are many nasty-tasting formulas on the market already that you can paint onto your nails, butheres some natural ways to help make those nails un-bitable:
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Get Ahead Of Hangnails
Often people start biting their nails by going after a loose hangnail. Then, before long, they have moved onto the actual nail tip and then its off to the races. The secret to stopping this pattern from repeating, according to Elliott, is to be prepared.
Carry a nail clipper with you at all times and clip those hangnails before you have the urge to bite, she said.
Put a nail clipper in your purse, in the center console of your car, or in a desk drawer at work.
Try A Bit Of Bitter Gourd
Bitter gourd is a vegetable commonly used in Asian cuisine hailed for its naturally bitter taste.
Also known as bitter squash or bitter melon, this vegetable is very potent when used on its own.
Its bitter taste is sure to put you off biting your nails, leaving a gag-worthy taste in your mouth if you choose to get nibbling.
You can either crush bitter gourd, apply the juices on your nails and leave to dry, or find a pre-prepared bitter gourd nail-biting treatment in the shops.
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Nail Biting And Laziness
If Im being honest, my ultimate reason for biting and picking my nails was laziness. Laziness to quit. Laziness to not put forth a concerted effort to quit. Laziness to actually really think about my nail biting behavior.
After 8 weeks of not biting and picking my nails anymore, the fact that I have no desire to start again and dont even think of it as an option any longer says that I didnt need to do this in the recent past. I just did it. I just bit and picked my nails when I felt like it.
In the recent past Id be working on this website End Nail Biting and would pick and bite my nails when I would take a short break to proofread what I had just written.
Now just 8 weeks later and for the past 6 weeks at least the thought of biting and picking my nails no longer exists. Its just something I no longer consider. While I did have a few urges the first 2 weeks after quitting, they passed pretty quickly.
How did this happen?
Will Bitten Nails Grow Back Normal
Your fingernails may never grow back the same. Biting your nails down too far isnt just a bad look that lasts a couple of days, it can lead to permanent damage. Onycholysis, the separation of the fingernail from its nail bed, is a common nail disorder.
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How A Nail Biting Habit Affects The Teeth
NAIL BITING IS A HABIT shared by between a quarter and a third of children and nearly half of teenagers. Compulsive behaviors dont always have negative effects on a persons physical health, but this one definitely does. In addition to leaving the nails torn and uneven and doing damage to the nail beds, nail biting can lead to a variety of oral health complications.
How To Stop Biting Your Nails:
You may not be able to break the habit overnight, but with a little time and effort, you can work to curb your nail-biting urge for good. Here are our experts’ best tips and strategies to finally stop biting your nails.
Identify your triggers.
If you’re trying to stop biting your nails, the first thing you should do is to take a hard look at where in your day you’re commonly engaging in the behavior, advises Dr. Berry. You may, for example, notice that you often start nibbling when you’re scrolling through emails, doing work or watching TV. “We want to look specifically at what a person is doing, where they are, who’s around them, what are they feeling,” explains Berry. “Is there any emotional connection of boredom, anxiety, etc., that are potentially contributing and reinforcing the behavior?”
Once you know what exactly kicks you into the nail-biting drive, you can take the next step to modify your environment to make it harder to engage in the habit. If you find that you most often start biting your nails when you’re doing work in your bedroom alone, for instance, you can try sitting in the dining room instead and doing it around other people, which can help you become more aware and conscious of the behavior.
Make a running list of urges.
Address beneath-the-surface emotions.
Keep your nails short.
Get a nice manicure.
Coat your nails with a bad taste.
Cover your nails up.
Keep your hands or mouth busy.
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Chat With A Therapist
While not all nail-biting indicates underlying emotional distress, if you’ve tried everything and can’t stop, or suspect there’s more to the story, consider seeking help from a professional. Talk therapy can be a great way to get at the root of the issue. “Often the bitten nails, picked skin and pulled out hair is a visible form of the emotional pain that no-one else sees, and the person is crying out for help with emotional pain they cannot articulate in words,” says Swart.
If you are having a hard time stopping, know that you arent alone. An estimated 20-30 percent of Americans bite their nails and need help to break the habit. Behavioral therapy can help identify what triggers you to bite your nails and offers healthier alternatives. Therapies that include hypnotherapy or habit-reversal training can help break the nail-biting cycle, says the Cleveland Clinic. Your therapist can also make sure your nail-biting isnt related to other disorders, includingAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder .