Nail biting is one of the most prominent habits amongst people of all ages. It is often subsequent to negative emotions such as anxiety or brain-twisting situations that require intense concentration. Some attempt to get rid of the habit due to its obvious impact on the skin. Others make no effort to save their cuticles at all!
What is nail biting?
Nail biting, otherwise known as onychophagia, is an orally-related habit that consists of a person using their teeth to bite their fingernails. According to multiple small-scale studies, an average of about 20% of adults bite their nails. This means that millions of people all around the world chew their nails.
What are the effects of nail biting?
Your cuticles are the most affected by this habit because they become more prone to fungal diseases. Your nails exist to protect the ends of your fingers and toenails. Without them, the cuticles are more likely to catch fungal bacteria.
Symptoms of infection include black, yellow or green nail discolouration and a thickened texture. Fungal infections are difficult to remove and must be treated with antifungal medicines. Depending on the severity of the infection, your nails can take up to two years to heal fully.
You can also contract diseases via your mouth. Touching an infected surface and making contact with an entrance into your body (i.e. your nose, mouth or ears) allows for numerous microbes to infect different areas. This may result in infections such as the flu or a sore throat.
So, maybe think twice before biting your nails during your next exam...