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Is Biting Your Nails Dangerous - or Just Gross?

Nail Biting

Story at-a-glance -

  • As you bite your nails, you easily transfer bacteria into your mouth and the rest of your body, where they may lead to infections
  • Nail biters are susceptible to paronychia, a skin infection that occurs around your nails
  • Nail biting may cause your teeth to shift out of their proper position, become misshapen, wear down prematurely, and become weakened
  • People who chronically bite their nails report significantly higher quality of life impairment than those who do not
  • The American Psychiatric Association re-classified nail biting as a form of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), along with other forms of “pathological grooming” – but for most people nail biting is simply the result of boredom or stress

By Dr. Mercola

Nail biting, or onychophagia, is a relatively common habit that affects people of all ages. There are many theories as to why people bite their nails, but most agree that it often stems from stress or may be an activity that's picked up as a child.


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