Nail biting isn’t just an annoying habit that results in unsightly nails, but it can actually make you sick, too. Researchers at the Texas A&M University Health Science Center have outlined top reasons why one of your New Year’s resolutions should be to stop biting your nails.
- You are exposing yourself to dirt and germs. When biting your nails, you are bringing those germs into your mouth and body, exposing yourself to infections.
- You may develop a painful nail infection (paronychia). The main symptom is a red, swollen area around the nail. If it is bacterial, you may also have pus-filled blisters.
- Nail biting is bad for your oral health. Your teeth may shift out of place or start chipping or breaking because of this habit. Plus, germs from your fingers could infect your gums, causing bad breath.
- Biting your nails raises the risk of hangnails (open sores that can easily get infected) or ingrown nails (nails growing under the skin).
- You are exposing yourself to nail polish chemicals. When you chew your painted nails, you are putting yourself at risk of toxin poisoning.
Researchers suggest being particularly mindful of your nails when washing your hands and taking the time to clean them properly. “If you constantly bite at your nails, chances are you’ll bite off a bit more than you expected,” they concluded.