Biting nails is a compulsive habit that is usually done by kids and teenagers, with adults also sometimes having the compulsion. Onychophagia is the technical term used to describe the biting of fingernails but you probably won’t hear anyone other than a doctor using the term.
What are the Symptoms of Biting Your Nails?
While the symptoms in most cases are generally mild, socially nail biting is looked down upon and then there’s the aesthetics of the nails themselves which can look less than appealing in more extreme cases of nail biters. Various cuticle problems causing issues like whitlow, felon or paronychia which are bacterial or fungal infections can arise. Bacteria is also more easily transmitted to the mouth which can create a variety of problems.
Nails of a Nail Biter
How to Stop Biting Nails
Treatments for nail biters are behavioral in nature and can include nail polishes which discourage biting your fingernails, making the act displeasurable. Mouthpieces have also been used to stop biting nails.
For more severe cases where simple treatments fail to work there is behavioral therapy. A therapist can help in replacing the bad habit of chewing your nails with a more constructive and desirable habit. Most teens generally grow out of the habit though, so it is rarely ever a long term condition.
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