Nibbled fingernails and cracked skin around the fingertip. Many are familiar with the annoying habit of Nail-Biting. These tips will help you stop.
- Around 15 percent of adults chew on their fingernails.
- Most often, stress or frustration is the cause.GETTY
- Nail-biting can lead to permanent damage to the nail and cuticles or to nail bed infections.
- False fingernails can also help.
It’s mainly children who chew nails. Almost every third child is affected, with an estimated 45 percent of adolescents.
As a rule, this habit is harmless and grows again as you grow up. In some instances, the vice remains. About 15 percent of adults nibble on their nails, horny fingertips, or tear off the cuticles with their teeth.
Doctors call this behavior onychophagia. If the nails are only chewed from time to time, it is above all a cosmetic problem, gnawed fingernails and torn off skin quickly look neglected. Nail-biting can also happen frequently and in an uncontrolled manner. In such a case, complications and health problems can arise.
Why do you chew your nails?
Excessive nail biting can lead to permanent damage to the nail and cuticles to nail bed and gum infections, as well as tooth problems and misaligned teeth.
Also, the symptoms of masticatory muscles or the temporomandibular joint have chances to occur.
- Even stomach problems can be caused by chewed nails, which are indigestible and can strain the digestive system.
- In addition to the physical complaints, it can also happen that those affected are so ashamed of their hands that they hide them. It can go so far that they restrict their social contacts.
- The causes of nail-biting can be very different. It is often tension, stress, or frustration. Excessive nail biting can also be an expression of an underlying problem such as an obsessive-compulsive disorder – such as ADHD, social behavior disorder, or an anxiety disorder.
What helps against nail-biting?
The excellent news: nail-biting is a habit, and you can get used to it again. Various tips can help with light nail-biting:
- Friends ask you to point this out when you are chewing
- Chewing gum or candy as a substitute
- Apply bitter nail polish. For example wormwood tincture (available without a prescription in the pharmacy)
- Fake Nails. These cannot be nibbled on and protect the nail underneath
- Wear gloves in situations where you tend to chew your nails.
With forceful nail-biting, where these tips do not help, it is worthwhile to seek professional help. Especially if nail chewing is related to a psychological problem, then it should be treated.