Nail biting, technically called onychophagia, may seem innocent enough but you are actually doing yourself some real damage – to your teeth, gums, and health. Right from childhood, our parents have been yelling at us to get rid of that habit, but nothing made us stop biting those dirty long nails we are in love with.
Some people have the habit of biting their fingernails while sitting through a boring class lecture, or during stress, nervousness or anxiety. But, some people have the tendency of biting their fingernails all the time. The fact that our nails hide a colony of germs is not enough to prevent us from biting those dirty nails. But, after reading the following facts, I am pretty sure that you will immediately run towards your nail cutter to cut your dear nails as quickly as possible.
Here is a list of 11 horrifying facts that will definitely stop you from biting your nails:
1. There is a breeding ground for all sorts of nasty bacteria under your fingernails. Yuck!
Our nails are known to be hives of nastiness and are home to various types of germs, yeast, and bacteria. The most common one is called Staphylococcus aureus. When you chew on your nails, this bacteria can be transferred into your mouth and it is really harmful as it can cause a load of crazy skin infections like boils and abscesses.
If this doesn’t put you off, I don’t know what will.
2. You are making your fingernails – a greater bacteria paradise.
Sucking and chewing on your fingernails can cause even more bacteria to grow, as the area is consistently moist.
A study from 2007 proved that people who chewed on their nails had more bacteria (like Escherichia coli, E. cloacae and E. aerogenes) in their mouths than those that didn’t.
So gross. If you don’t want those creepy bacteria’s in your mouth, take your finger out your mouth NOW.
3. You’re more likely to grind your molars into dust at night.
Nail biting is a habit associated with nerves. Chances are, if you are chewing your fingernails on the regular, you’re susceptible to grinding your teeth at night. Teeth grinding can lead to serious dental damage and even tooth loss.
4. You are most likely causing yourself dental damage.
What you see as a little bit of nail biting could actually be causing your teeth a whole lot of damage. As you bite the nail, your teeth can click together which when done repeatedly can lead to tooth fractures, tooth loss, and even jaw displacement.
If you already have weak teeth, continually tearing off bits of the nail with your front teeth could lead to dental chipping.
5. If you are Brace-wearing biter, then you may run the risk of causing irreversible damage to your changing chompers.
If you are putting yourself through braces, don’t throw it all away by stupidly biting your nails. It increases the risk of your brace breaking, and in severe cases, the bacteria causes your body’s own cells to start to eat away at themselves and thus dissolve the tooth structure.
6. You might end up with gross gums.
Not only can the added bacteria in your mouth affect your gums, but the half-eaten fingernails can get stuck under the gums and cause painful gingival swelling.
One particular case study mentioned a patient (kid) who suffered from gingival (gum) swelling under one of his teeth after years of biting his nails. It turns out, there were six fingernails fragments under his tooth!
7. You will end up with stinky breath.
Nail biters are even prone to halitosis, meaning ‘highly disgusting breath’. Already there are bacteria living in ones’ mouth; however, most of them are meant to be there. But, if you keep chewing fingernails, you are going to invite tons of gross germs too, which results in stinky breath.
The more bacteria in your mouth, the more stinky your breath will be.
8. Your fingertips could turn into a pile of pus.
Nail biting can often lead to biting the skin around the nail. But doing this can cause you to have acute infective paronychia. And to be honest, it’s pretty freaking gross. It’s caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria getting into small, open sores, and results in pools of pus forming around the nail. It’s basically like finger herpes, which is actually caused by the cold sore virus. It can be cured by pills, but sometimes it has to be surgically drained.
9. Nail biting can even lead to ORAL STIs.
So it turns out that this horrible habit can even GIVE YOU HERPES. Although rare, there have been occasions where biting nails has led to an oral STI such as herpes, thanks to a transference of bacteria from finger to mouth.
10. You may be poisoning yourself.
For female biters who wear nail varnish, by biting your nails you are actually poisoning yourself. Nail varnish and other nail polishes contain toxins which are not designed to be ingested. It may take a while for the toxins to build up so much that they actually badly poison you, but do you want to run that risk?
Also, Nail varnishes contain a substance called formaldehyde – the stuff they use to embalm dead bodies with. Really you don’t want to be chewing on this stuff at all, refrain yourself.
11. And finally, your nails might NEVER GROW BACK!
Chronic nail biting can damage the nail bed, which, when exposed, leads to the irreversible shortening of nails. In other words, biting far enough down the nail bed means that no nail can latch on in future and so nails remain as stumps forever.
If you don’t stop chewing right this second, you might end up with stumps FOREVER and EVER.