What is nail biting?
Nail biting is categorized as an oral habit, sometimes described as the parafunctional activity of the mouth. It is also known as onychophagia.
Some people may bite nails out of their habit but in many cases it is associated with a psychological issue or stress etc.
How nail biting causes infection
Nail biting may lead to infection anywhere in the body. Most of the nail biters do not realize how unhygienic practice they are doing, and how dangerous it may be.
It makes a person prone to diseases. Most of the serious diseases associated with nail biting is a result of infections.
Why do people bite nails?
People bite nails due to following reasons;
- Feeling nervous
- Hungry (rare)
Symptoms of Onychophagia (nail biting)
- Extremely short nails
- Bleeding around the nails
- Damaged skin around the nails
- Damage fingertips
- Hard bumps or calluses
- Uncontrolled nail biting
- Pain around the nail bed
- Pain and tenderness
- Fever and chills
Health issues caused by nail biting
Biting nails can cause serious health issues anywhere in the body such as;
- Tooth problem; chronic nail-biting leads to various teeth issues and significant damage to gums. Such as erosion, chipping, cracking, malocclusion and gaps, root resorption, bruxism (a nail-biting habit can increase a person’s risk of developing chronic teeth- grinding habits which lead to many oral problems along with headache and soreness.
Gingivitis (is the inflammation of gums). When we bite nails, dirt transfers to our mouth which can result in gum diseases.
- Paronychia (fingertip infection); it is a skin infection that develops around the edges of nails. It results from biting or chewing the nails. It occurs when fungi and bacteria get under the skin. It is of two types;
- Acute paronychia: irritant causes most of the acute cases
- Chronic paronychia: being present for longer than six weeks. Infection are the cause for acute cases
- Dermatophagia (skin infection); if you compulsively bite and eat the skin on your hands and fingers, you may have dermatophagia.
When skin is left open after biting bacteria may enter into the wound which causes infection.
- Facial warts; it is due to biting nails. warts caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) When we touch our hands everywhere like doors, handles, locks, switches. It transfers dirt and germs in your nails and when your mouth and face expose it causes warts to grow on the face, neck and fingers. Facial warts due to nail biting are rare
How to protect my nails?
Follow these steps so it’s easy for you to quit nail biting now;
- Keep your nails clean and short
- Find what forces you to start biting nails
- Busy your hands with ball, pen, etc
- Take manicure
- Apply nail paint
Nail biting also known as onychophagia, predisposes to a number of skin disorders and infection. Finding out the impulse behind nail-biting and controlling the impulse can improve harm to skin and affected areas It is good to quit this habit by the above-mentioned steps. Nail biting is more common in teenagers.
A student of Surgical Technology from Dow University of Health Sciences. She brings her expertise on surgical procedures, knowledge on Human Anatomy and Modern Day Surgeries to help students understand and learn easier ways and help patients understand hospital procedures before their surgeries.