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You might have come across several people who bite their nails, or you may be one of them! It may look harmless but this behaviour actually has a name. It’s called onychophagia. Now, we aren’t saying it’s a cause of concern for everyone who indulges in it. Many people, in fact, pick it up as a habit in childhood and outgrow it with age. There are, however, cases when nail biting becomes a lifelong habit, and that’s when you need to take notice.
So, why is it that some people bite their nails, and what is the best way to get rid of this habit? We’re here to tell you all about it.
Nail biting is a habit that many develop in childhood, and may become more prominent upon reaching adolescence. There isn’t a particular reason why people make a habit of nail biting, but these could be some probable causes:
If you bite your nails often, then you could damage the cuticle and the tissue around it. Although there’s no long-term damage, you could experience some soreness around the nails and surrounding skin. You could have abnormal-looking nails, fungal infections in the nails and surrounding tissue, illness due to passing bacteria from your fingers to your face and mouth, harm to teeth, and joint pain and dysfunction in certain cases.
What’s more, if you swallow bitten-off nails, you put yourself at a higher risk of stomach and intestinal infections.
First of all, it is important to remember that giving up on any habit takes time. So, you need to be patient with yourself. If you’ve been trying to quit nail biting but haven’t been successful, here’s what you need to try:
If you think that these tips aren’t helping you, then it’s a good idea to visit a therapist in order to find professional help.