How to Stop Nail Biting Whether due to anxiety, stress, or any other reason, who hasn’t started biting their nails and found it difficult to stop? This is more common than we might imagine.
But if you think this habit is harmless to your health, we regret to inform you that unfortunately, it is not. Therefore, it is essential to know how to stop nail biting, okay?
This habit is known in the scientific world as onychophagia, and studies indicate that about 30% of the global population engage in it.
With that, we can already see that many people bring their hands to their mouths and, before they know it, they’re already biting their nails. Want to know more about the subject? Keep reading!
WHY DO WE BITE OUR NAILS?
You may have wondered at some point why you have this habit, right? The thing is, in many cases, the behavior is caused by emotions that arise during moments of anxiety, nerves on edge, stress, or even when we are idle and boredom sets in.
The habit can occur when you least expect it: during the performance of a complex activity, while concentrating on a task, or even when you feel the need to release accumulated tension in the body. In other words, there are several situations that lead to nail biting. In many cases, it is an opportunity to “escape” reality.
Emotionally, we can say that nail biting is a habit that serves as an escape valve in the face of current stressful situations. Over time, the brain becomes accustomed to it, and when the habit resurfaces, the person feels a sense of calm and relaxation.
Another point highlighted by studies is perfectionism, which is a personality trait. Therefore, perfectionists, in general, always seek perfection in everything they do, with high standards of satisfaction in work and actions that involve personal life as well.
As a result, after completing an action, it can take a long time for a person to admire their nails. In this process, they analyze if they are all the same length, with a focus on regularity.
WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF THIS HABIT?
First of all, it is worth noting that simply putting your hand in your mouth, especially without sanitizing it, can be dangerous – even for spreading bacteria, viruses, and leading to the development of flu-like conditions, colds, and other infections.
And of course, going beyond and practicing onychophagia brings worrisome results. One of the problems is the wear of tooth enamel. This is because the habit can cause teeth to crack or chip – and this scenario is quite dangerous, as it can also lead to the appearance of unwanted cavities and tooth enamel erosion.
Another fact is that the jaws can also be affected due to the repeated and constant movements that interfere with their structure. As a result, you may start experiencing pain while chewing and jaw popping, causing discomfort and hindering the chewing of food.
Gum injuries can also occur. After all, nails are capable of cutting them, causing bleeding, wounds, and inflammation, especially due to the presence of bacteria.
Intestinal problems can also arise, such as gastritis, which causes nausea and even heartburn. Another case, swallowing nail clippings, is dangerous for internal organs.
HOW TO STOP NAIL BITING?
Now that you already know the causes and dangers, it’s time to learn how to actually stop biting your nails, right?
The first step is to pay attention to your behavior and analyze the reasons why you put your nails in your mouth. To do this, it’s helpful to make notes to help you identify the moments that lead to the habit.
This makes it easier to recognize your own actions and fight against them. Now, let’s check out some other tips.
1 – FILE AND TRIM YOUR NAILS
If you have the habit of biting your nails, an interesting tip to reduce the habit is to keep them short and well-filed.
Painting them can also help, as it makes you think twice before damaging the nail polish with your teeth. Make nail care a weekly routine to keep them healthy.
2 – TRY FAKE NAILS
Another recommendation, on days when you feel overwhelmed by emotions, is to try fake nails. This reduces the desire to bite them.
After all, biting them won’t be “pleasurable” and will ruin the look. When properly applied and taken care of, fake nails can last an average of 15 days.
3 – USE A SPECIFIC NAIL POLISH
In addition to these tips, you can try using specific nail polishes that have a bitter taste. This way, when you bring your nails to your mouth, you will experience a very unpleasant taste, which will discourage nail biting.
These products are colorless and can be easily found online, as well as in perfumeries and pharmacies.
4 – SQUEEZE A STRESS BALL
As the name suggests, a stress ball helps reduce tension and daily stress. To use it, squeeze it firmly for a minute and focus on the action without thinking about other things.
Another option when you feel the urge to bite your nails is to use a “pop it,” a silicone-based toy where you can push the bubbles.
This item helps reduce stress and improves concentration.
In addition to these tips, the list of how to stop nail biting includes improving your diet by choosing balanced foods.
It’s also important to seek help and start psychological treatment to address the underlying causes of the habit. Now, find out how to strengthen your nails.
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