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How to Stop Biting Your Nails for the Sake of Your Teeth

May 31, 2016
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Posted By: Dr. Russell D. Mann

If you have a bad habit of biting your nails, you run the risk of getting an infection on your finger called paronychia. Not many people realize that nail biting is also terrible for your teeth. Your fingernails can be pretty hard, and when you bite through one your teeth and smash together and one could chip. There have even been some cases of gingivitis caused by nail-biting. A good rule of thumb (not thumbnail) is, if it’s not food or an oral hygiene product, don’t put it in your mouth.

If you’re struggling to quit the bad habit of biting your nails, here are a few recommendations that may help.

1. Try anti-nail-biting polish.

You can find into nail-biting polish at your local drug store. It goes on clear, and it tastes horrible. When you subconsciously start putting your fingernails in your mouth, you will be rudely awakened by this awful tasting stuff. You can use it on its own over nail polish.

2. Carry nail clippers with you.

Often people will start biting their nails when there is a hangnail bugging them, or they broke only a piece of the nail and wanted to even it out. If you carry nail clippers with you at all times, you’ll be able to rectify the annoyance without putting your teeth at risk. Put some in your purse or leave them in the console of your car, so you have no excuse not to use them.

3. Try nail art.

Only if it’s your style, of course. If you have a work of art on your nails, you won’t want to ruin it by biting your nails. Whether you do it yourself and it took hours, or you went to a salon and paid money, suddenly the fleeting satisfaction of biting your nails might not be worth it.

4. Keep your hands busy.

Sometimes people bite their nails because they just need something to do with their hands. In a situation where it’s rude to take out your smart phone, try playing with a fidget toy. There are plenty of toy keychains that can keep your hands busy and your mind stimulated when you’re bored.

5. Combat stress and anxiety.

In the case your nail biting is caused by stress and anxiety, look for things that will help treat the root of the problem. Everyone’s stress and anxiety levels are different, and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach whatsoever. But understanding your anxiety is the first step to understanding what will help and what will not.

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