Nail biting usually begins in childhood, some people eventually outgrow it as adults, but for some, it can become a severely addictive habit that can be difficult to get over.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology AAD, chronic nail-biting can also leave you vulnerable to infection as you pass harmful bacteria and viruses from your mouth to your fingers and from your nails to your face and mouth.
What are the underlying causes of nail-biting?
The habit of nail-biting has been studied before, however, scientists are still not sure if it is genetic. It has been found that children of parents that bite their nails are likely to do it even if the parents stop before the child is born.
Additionally, it could show up as a sign of emotional stress. According to Healthline, it is an automatic habit that shows up in moments of frustration, intense concentration, and it can be used as a coping mechanism to deal with anxiety.
Tips to stop nail biting
These tips will help you gradually fight the addictive habit of nail-biting.
Keep your nails trimmed
When your teeth have nothing to bite on, it is less tempting to bite your nails.
Get regular manicures
The American Academy of Dermatology says splurging on a manicure, making your nails look beautiful, and knowing that you have to show them to someone will reduce the urge to bite them
Make gradual changes
This is an addictive habit that needs to be handled with small steps. AAD recommends setting a goal of how long you are willing to go without touching your nails, and then with each milestone reached, you can extend it until you do not need to anymore.
Find your triggers
Identifying what makes you bite your nails will lead you to find ways that will help you cope says Healthline. Additionally, just recognising those trends is enough to act as a reminder each time you bite your nails.
Replace the nail-biting habit with a good habit
AAD suggests trying to play with a stress ball whenever you feel like biting your nails. This will help keep your hands busy and away from your mouth.