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Nail Biting | Everything You Need To Know

Can’t have beautiful long nails because of nail biting? Find out everything you can about this habit and what you can do to stop it.

RELATED: 43 Amazing Manicure Hacks You Should Know

In this article:

  1. Why People Do Nail Biting
  2. Nail Biting Causes
  3. Possible Health Issues
  4. Ways To Stop Nail Biting
  5. DIY Solutions

Nail Biting | Everything You Need To Know

Why People Do Nail Biting

Nail biting, or onychophagia, is a common habit for people who get anxious, nervous, or scared a lot. Sometimes, this has become a habit it’s hard to shake off for some people.

If you know an adult who bites their nails, they must have started doing so when  they were a kid and the habit just never stopped. Typically, kids wouldn’t start biting their nails until the age of 4, however many of them tend to start between the ages of 4 and 6. Boys are more likely to bite their nails, than girls. To sum up, this harmful habit often begins during adolescence and keeps up with you deep into adulthood.

Constantly biting your nails may result in them becoming too short for proper-looking manicures. What a lot of people don’t know is that nail biting may bring on a lot of possible health issues and problems.

Although extreme nail biting may cause infections and nail damage, there are ways to cut the habit. You can still have beautiful manicures without ruining it with bite marks.

Nail Biting Causes

close female mouth biting her fingers | Nail Biting | Everything You Need To Know

According to WebMD, gnawing your nails is either a way to ease anxiety or an automated activity for the body when the mind loses interest in something. However, some experts believe the habit is a symptom of a more serious psychological issue.

While adult nail biters could have OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), children who have the same habit may have other psychiatric issues, such as ADHD (attention deficiency and hyperactive disorder), separation anxiety, and even bedwetting.

RELATED: Gorgeous White Nail Designs For Every Occasion

Possible Health Issues

Initially, by preventing the tissue around your nails from growing as it should be, biting your nails ends up ruining their natural look. Looking at nails belonging to those who have this terrible habit, they usually have a strange shape and will continue growing in this odd way.

While nail biting may seem like a simple habit, it may result in some very complicated health problems.

According to Mercola, dirty fingernails may carry deadly bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. When you nibble on your nails, you might end up ingesting these infectious organisms as well. In addition, through the skin ‘cuts’ that you create when you bite your nails, germs can easily penetrate. It may cause you to become sick, catch colds more frequently, or easily get other illnesses.

Gnawing your nails may also result in other infections (paronychia) and even warts due to HPV infections. It may also cause dental problems.

Ways To Stop Nail Biting

woman putting artificial fingernail on finger | Nail Biting | Everything You Need To Know

Fortunately, there are ways to break the habit of biting your nails!

  • You can use products made specifically to stop you from making a meal out of your nails. These products have a nasty taste which will immediately remind you that you shouldn’t be biting your nails.
  • You can also use fake nails to hide your natural nails. Since they’re acrylic, you won’t be able to peel them away and will ultimately help your real nails grow healthy and strong underneath them. You can also get really pretty nail art to remind you that you could ruin them by biting your nails.
  • Another way to prevent yourself from biting your nails is to cut off those annoying bits around your nails. Use a cuticle cutter or a nail cutter to take out those little hangnails.
  • Last but not least, try to keep your hands occupied. Since experts deemed it as a habit you do when your brain is bored or anxious, engage in activities that will keep your mind and hands busy.

DIY Solutions

There are also homemade recipes you can follow to stop yourself from biting your nails. 


  1. Dip your nails in salt
    Salty nails can have a bad taste when you put them in your mouth. However, be careful if you usually work on a computer. Remove all of the solid salt granules to make sure they do not fall down into your keyboard! Also, protect your sensitive body parts from being hurt by not rubbing your salty fingers on them.

  2. Rub each nail with Jalapeños
    Get a jar of jalapeños and rub it all over your cuticles and nail beds. This will shock your tongue whenever you put your nails into a restricted zone. It will last for less than an hour, depending on how much jalapeños juice that you use. But don’t forget to never rub your eyes with those spicy nails.
  3. Bring nail clipper with you
    Attach a little nail clipper to your keychain to have it always ‘on the ready’ to serve. You can get an attractive nail clipper with some amazing images or decorations to make you more willing to use it.  

  4. Set the alarm to regularly trim nails
    Use your phone alarm to remind you to regularly trim your nails. It can be once a week or once per two weeks depending on your nail growing speed. If you’re too busy to do it at home, then go to the nail salon and get it done. Just remember to always keep your nails short and nice.

  5. Get a fidget spinner
    Getting some little toys to play with in your hands is the most convenient solution to keeping your hands busy. Kill your boredom with something else instead of playing with your nails.

  6. Stick the note on your working table
    Stick a small note onto your computer screen or your desk, reminding you how much bacteria you can digest if you bite your nails. Or simply write some reminder quotes like “Don’t bite your nails!” or “I see you’re biting your nails”. Little by little, these reminders can create your new good habit.

  7. Get reminder
    Ask family, friends, coworkers or whoever are mostly around you, to remind you whenever they see you’re biting your nails, to say ‘Stop’!. This can help you knock down your terrible habit with a little ‘help from friends’.

  8. Keep your nails clean
    Breaking an enduring habit takes a lot of time and effort. It’s sure that you can just drop it on the first or second day. Then at least keep your hands and nails clean. Wash hands and remove all the nail dust regularly.

Top 10 Home Remedies recommended applying neem oil as well as crushed garlic or bitter gourd on your nails.

Their bitter taste will stop you from putting your fingers in your mouth.

Find out how to stop nail biting with this video from Cute Polish:

Whether mild or severe, nail biting still poses a risk to your health. It also stops your nails from growing long and healthy. Hope this post helps and gave you a solution to your nail biting troubles.

Have you experienced nail biting in the past? If yes, what did you do to stop it? Share your experiences in the comments section below!


Know more tips to keep your nails healthy here! You can also find really awesome nail art ideas from my Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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