Nail-biting

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Many people bite their fingernails, especially when theyre nervous, but its not a healthy or a clean habit. Dr. Edward Hill tells us why in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Nail-biting is a common stress-relieving habit. You may bite your nails in times of stress, excitement, boredom or inactivity. It can also be a learned behavior from family members.

Nail-biting can cause your fingertips to be red and sore and your cuticles to bleed. Nail-biting also increases your risk for infections around the nail bed and in the mouth. Dental problems and gum infections can also be caused by nail-biting.

Long-term nail-biting can interfere with normal nail growth and cause deformed nails.

About half of children between the ages of 10 and 18 bite their nails at one time or another. Nail-biting occurs most often as teens are going through puberty. Most people stop biting their nails by age 30.

Here are some tips to help you stop biting your nails:

Keep your nails trimmed and filed.

Paint a bitter-tasting polish on your nails, or

Try stress-management techniques.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.