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How to Stop Biting Nails: 7 Best Ways

An estimated fifty percent of children and adolescents engage in the behavior of biting their nails. A significant proportion of individuals never outgrow it. But, how to stop biting your nails?

 It can be very difficult to break old habits. When you are anxious, you may find yourself biting your fingernails. If you have nothing else to do, you can attempt to bite them. Or you may not realize it until the nail technician informs you that your nails are too short because you have been biting them.

There are some things you can do around the house that may help you break the habit of biting your fingernails or toenails, regardless of the reason. If you are an adult who bites his nails, you may have done so as a child and have been unable to kick the habit.

The medical term for the habit of biting one’s nails is “chronic onychophagia.”, which is used for chronic nail biting. This condition is also linked to thumb sucking, picking the nose, twirling the hair, hair pulling, grinding the teeth, picking the skin (skin-picking), and sucking the thumb. It is widely regarded as the most effective stress-relieving behavior.

By: Iko on Unlimphotos on Shutterstock

It is uncommon for individuals to begin biting their nails before the age of 4, but most cases appear to form between the ages of 4 and 6. Boys are significantly to adapt this habit as compared to girls who bite their fingernails. 

There is a chance that your parents are at fault. Although researchers are uncertain whether this behavior is inherited, children whose parents have a habit of biting their fingernails are more likely to do so. According to some studies, this occurs even if the parents stop the behavior before the child is born.

Occasionally, biting one’s nails can signal mental or emotional stress. This behavior is more likely to occur when a person is nervous, anxious, or depressed. It is a healthy way to deal with these emotions and stress.

You may also do it when you are bored, hungry, or experiencing self-doubt. Nail biting is almost always an unconscious reflex; you do it without much thought.

Justifications for Stopping Nail Biting

Typically, biting the nails does not cause long-term damage. However, there are definite disadvantages:

  • If you damage the tissues and cuticles surrounding your nails, they may cease to grow in the correct direction. This will make your nails appear abnormal. It might result in abnormal nail growth.
  • It could potentially ruin your smile. You risk chipping, cracking, or breaking your teeth if you bite your nails. Long-term nail biting can even cause problems with the jaw. Jaw problems are more tedious to solve.
  • It can cause illness and various health problems. Hands are a breeding ground for bacteria, and fingernails provide the ideal environment for them to hide and breed. There is a correlation between frequently putting one’s fingers in one’s mouth and an increased risk of contracting an illness. When you bite your nails, you risk damaging your skin and creating an entry point for bacteria to enter your body.

In simpler terms, there are more negatives than positives.

The Risks Associated with Biting Your Nails

Ache or infection in the skin surrounding your nails and on the skin itself. As a result of placing dirty fingers in the mouth, the nail-growing tissue and cuticles may be harmed, the appearance of the nails may change, abnormal growth may occur, and other illnesses may develop.

In addition to causing damage to your teeth, chewing on hard nails can also cause gum disease.


At home, you can experiment with a variety of activities. There are also situations where you should likely consult a physician instead of attempting to handle the problem yourself.

Before you attempt to stop biting your fingernails or toenails, you should probably consider the underlying causes of your behaviour. You may wish to keep track of the instances you find yourself biting. Do you need a nap? Stressed? Hungry?

You may notice a pattern developing. Once you have identified the specific trigger for your anxiety, you can begin considering potential solutions to the problem. You may not be able to stop biting your nails overnight, but you can break the habit with time and effort.

How to Stop Biting Nails?

1. Shorten the Length of your Nails

If there are short nails for your teeth to grip, biting it will not be as satisfying as it would be otherwise. Maintaining sharp fingernails can be a simple and effective method for kicking the habit of nail biting.

This method’s underlying concept is straightforward. There will be less of a need to bite your nails if there is little or nothing to chew on, so refrain from doing so. Since your nails constantly grow, you must maintain a consistent filing and trimming routine.

2. Use a Varnish with a Bitter Taste

Varnish such as ORLY, may help you kick your nail-biting habit. This may initially sound odd but bear with it. You can apply this repellent to your natural or manicured nails. Simply apply it with a paintbrush, let it dry completely, and then reapply as needed.

Make them disagreeable for the customer. Applying bitter-flavored nail polish to your nails can give them an unpleasant and terrible taste. The disgusting flavor and unpleasant taste will make you hesitant to consume anything. These special nail polishes will keep in check the nail-biting behavior.

3. Invest in Manicures

By: Milan Markovic on Unlimphotos

If you want to stop nail biting, you could spend a lot of money on a manicure and see if that helps. The condition of your fingernails and toenails will be excellent. By visiting a nail salon and investing time and money in the experience, you can acquire attractive nails and the motivation to keep them that way. Try to maintain regular manicures; doing so would be a great source of inspiration.

4. Use Chewelry

Yes, you read correctly: chewelry. Any individual (over the age of 5) who feels the urge to chew will benefit from wearing an Ark-manufactured silicone Saber Tooth necklace. You can choose both the color and the level of difficulty, which ranges from easy to extremely challenging.

This device may be more effective if you are aware that you bite your nails. You can substitute wearing the necklace for biting your nails, which will have the same calming and concentration-enhancing effects.

It is possible that an all-or-nothing stance is not your optimal strategy. Instead, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests focusing on one nail at a time and gradually extending the amount of time you go without biting your nails. You may start by using your thumbs.
You should move on to your index fingers when you can refrain from biting your fingernails for approximately a week without relapsing. Proceed in the manner that makes the most sense to you, but do not allow your progress to prevent you from moving in any direction.

Consider the fact that you should discuss your gum use with your dentist. Chewing gum seems to be a good option as it can control the nail-biting drive. You risk causing damage to your teeth and jaw if you chew on anything, including nails. Thus, it is very important to consult a doctor from time to time.

5. Wear Gloves

how to stop biting nails
By: Mihalec on Unlimphotos

Yes, wearing some gloves prevent the nail-biting habit. It may seem absurd and silly, but it is impossible to bite your nails if you cannot reach them. Stickers designed to cover nails can have the same effect as wearing gloves; therefore, if gloves are impractical for daily activities, look for stickers designed to protect nails.

6. Find your Triggers

Consider how it makes you feel and what you are doing at the same time when you find yourself biting your nails. Once you have determined what triggers your habit of biting your nails, you can seek alternative ways to deal with stressful situations.

7. Make an Effort to keep your Hands or Mouth Occupied

Find something to fidget with, such as a stress ball, a worry stone, or a clickable pen. This can help alleviate some of the stress you may be experiencing. Chew some gum to keep your mouth occupied. Give them your energy that you have been investing in biting your nails.

If you find quitting all at once is too difficult, take things one at a time; going cold turkey tends to be tough. You might be better off taking things one finger at a time. Try breaking it up into smaller portions. Create attainable goals for yourself.

Make an effort to refrain from biting the nails on your right hand for the next week. Or start even smaller: Choose one nail, such as the one on your thumb, not to bite. After a period of maintaining the status quo, hammer another nail into the “no-biting” zone. Continue until you are unable to move any of your fingers.

If you can still stop biting your nails after attempting multiple solutions, you should discuss therapy with your primary care physician. Treatment may help you identify the underlying cause of your nail biting and eliminate the urge to do so.

You cannot realistically expect to stop biting your nails overnight. You have likely heard that it takes 21 days to break a habit. In the 1960s, Maxwell Maltz’s book “The New Psycho-Cybernetics” was the first to bring widespread attention to this idea. A 2009 study demonstrated that the amount of time necessary to break a habit is neither linear nor straightforward.

What is the key takeaway from this? An answer to how to stop biting nails. Give yourself time before declaring your efforts unsuccessful. All of your hard work should bear fruit if you maintain tenacity. Some doctors recommend taking a gradual approach to break the habit.


Apeksha Soni

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