As a child, I heard so many stories about nail-biting and how dangerous and disgusting it was. That is the truth, but I was also told some stories which I was not really sure if they were true or false.
Let me share some interesting facts with you.
If you bite your nails long enough they will stop growing – TRUE
If you bite your nails so much that they become separated from the nail bed they will not reattach. This means they cannot grow out again. The good news is that if you stop biting your nails before reaching the nail bed, they will grow and they can do it fast. The nail bed will gradually repair itself and your nails will look normal again (depending on the severity of your nail biting!).
So it is not too late to take the decision to stop!
If I eat the nails they will grow out of my skin – FALSE
This is a story I was told when I was a kid to scare me off from biting my nails. I mean, who would want to have nails growing out of their skin? As I could not be entirely sure if it was true or not, it was better to just not eat those nails!
No, the truth is that the nails will not grow out of your skin; they will come out the natural way. But just the fact of having nails inside your system should be disgusting enough to keep you from biting them.
You can get worms from biting your nails – TRUE
This is the repulsive truth about biting your nails. I thought it was only a scares technique from my parents to make me stop biting my nails. But it is actually true.
It is called a pinworm and can grow under your nails if you don’t keep them clean. When you have been touching areas which are not clean, such as a toilet, you can get pinworm eggs under your nails. They can also come from clothing, bedding or other contaminated objects.
So think about it, when you bite your nails. You may consume the eggs which a few weeks later will develop into pinworms and give symptoms which will make your bottom itch… Do I need to say more?
Nails will digest in your stomach – FALSE
Nails are made of keratin which cannot digest, so they will simply pass through. But there are other side effects of swelling your nails. Think about that nails are hard with sharp edges so if you do swallow them, they may cause damage when passing through your body to your stomach.
Bacteria can live under your nails –TRUE
Researchers found that bacteria that cause vomiting and diarrhea are often found under people’s fingernails. Changing diapers, poor bathroom hygiene and handling raw meat–all can leave behind unwanted guests under your nails.
Nail biting can cause dental problems – TRUE
If you are a severe nail biter it may cause you dental damage. The sharp fingernail edges can be harmful and if you are continuous biting your nails it may impact your teeth. You can damage your gum tissue and your teeth can be impacted by the spread of bacteria which you bring from other body parts to the mount.
Especially small children may see the impact as there gum and teeth are still in a growing phase. Children or adults who bite their nails could crack, chip or wear down their front teeth from the stress caused by biting.
You can get sick from biting your nails – TRUE
Biting your nails is quite disgusting as you are eating bacteria! Yes, that is true!
Research is saying that bacteria that could cause diarrhoea and vomiting may be hiding underneath fingernails. When you bite your nails, you transfer those bacteria into your mouth and that can make you sick.
Think about all the things you have been doing that might leave behind those gems; Changing diapers, poor bathroom hygiene, touching coins and handling raw meat, all those things we do in our daily lives can leave behind unwanted guests under your nails.
Bitter taste nail polish can be toxic! – TRUE
Many bitter nail polish is composed of ingredients which are not meant to be eaten. So avoid putting this in your mouth as it may impact your health. Some nail polish is composed of non-safe ingredients such as formaldehyde and Phthalates. If the names of ingredients are difficult to say, then they are most likely not good for you.
The most common side effect of formaldehyde in cosmetics is skin irritation according to FDA – U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Nails are made of living cells – TRUE
But not the entire nail!
When I was a child, I was thought to believe that you should not bite your nails because they are living organisms. That is not true!
But what is true is that they partially consist of livings cells. The part which is hidden under the cuticle actually produces the cells that eventually turn into the nail plate. The nail as you can see it, consists of dead cells and are filled with keratin, a protein.
Only kids bite their nails – FALSE
Nail biting normally begins during childhood, increases substantially during the teenage years, and declines with age, although the habit may continue into adulthood.
People do it for different reasons such as nervousness, boredom, stress, distraction and more. If you look around, you will notice that unfortunately, this is a common bad habit among both children and adults.
Biting your nails is a mental disorder – TRUE and FALSE
I say that it is both true and false as for some people it actually may be a mental disorder.
Research is showing that it can sometimes affect individuals who are psychologically stable, but it is usually a sign of loss of control over difficult tasks.
In most cases, nail-biting is isolated and considered to be only a cosmetic problem. However, when co-occurring are conditions present, they are usually caused by psychological problems.
If you are a severe nail biter you cannot stop – FALSE
Anyone can stop nail biting. Depending on the root cause of the nail-biting habit you will need to take on different actions to stop, but if there is a will, there is a solution!
Throughout this site, I am giving you guidance on how you can stop biting your nails. In most cases, it is not too late to make the change and get back those healthy nice looking nails.