Why You Shouldn’t Bite Your Nails

nervous guy biting his nails

Other than nail biting being a nasty habit (according to your mom) you can’t kick, there are actually some negative health effects that come from biting your nails. Nail biting also comes from an emotional imbalance. It is a super common form of dealing with stress or panic. Also, chewing pencils, pens, or anything else, is the same form of this stress release that many of us do. Many anxious nail biters do not even realize that this is what they are doing to relieve the stress in their lives. Biting your nails is a good indicator of stress, so you will be able to access stress triggers in your life, but biting your nails can also cause some gross issues. Here are a few reasons why you should stop biting your nails.


When you bite your nails too short, you can open up delicate skin and risk infection. There is a lot of different bacteria in your mouth, and by having your fingers, and this exposed skin, in your mouth you risk infection. The most common form of infection that you can get from biting your nails is called paronychia. This can cause swelling, pain, redness, and pus filled lumps. This can last for weeks and is hard to get rid of. Generally, this infection happens in your cuticles, so if that is where you bite, make sure to stop before you get this infection.


man biting his thumb nail just heard about ProgentraYour saliva is for breaking down your food molecules so that your stomach has an easier time digesting. Although this good for your gut health, it is not good for your skin. Your saliva can break down your skin and cause damage and inflammation. Most of this inflammation and damage happens on the fingertips, since they are always in your mouth. Just like how your lips get chapped from your saliva, your fingertips essentially get chapped too causing inflammation.


Putting your fingers in your mouth is never a great idea, even when you were little. There are so many random things that we touch throughout the day, that you never really know what could be on there. From the subway to your office, there are millions of germs just waiting to get in your body and make you sick. Chewing your nails gives these germs and other organisms a straight pathway into your body. So yes, chewing your nails is bad, but think about the access that you are giving to things that are even worse every time you put your fingers in your mouth.

Ingrown Nails

The more often you bite your nails, the more likely you are to get ingrown nails. Your finger nail bed is the prime place that your nail cells grow, and by chewing on them, you break these down. This makes it more likely for your nails to become deformed and create ingrown nails. Also, the infections that you can get from biting your nails can contribute to ingrown nails. This is when you ingrown nails have are pussy, inflamed, and more painful than normal. Ingrown nails are an avoidable problem.

Facial Warts

Warts can be contagious, especially if you pick at them. This can get the bacteria under your nails which will translate to your face, lips, neck, and mouth. Since warts are fairly contagious, it is not surprising that once the bacteria gets under your nails it can translate to other areas of your body. To make sure that you do not get facial warts, it is best to leave any existing ones that you have alone or get them removed.

Hand Herpes

man with deformed nails due to bitingThis is not exactly herpes, but it is the best way to explain the condition. If you have herpes, you can infect your fingers. Especially when you are biting them down so that the soft skin is exposed. This can give you fevers, but it usually starts out with a painful burning and tingling. This feeling is located, generally, in your fingertips, not your whole hand. After a short amount of time, you can also get pus filled sores. The pus filled sores, and the pain, usually last about two weeks.

Teeth Problems

Your gums, and your tooth sockets, can be destroyed by nail biting. This can make your teeth crooked and/or painful. Nail biting can also fracture your teeth. This is caused by the constant biting of your nails. Nail biting can also trigger gingivitis. By having all that bacteria entering your mouth, and most likely sitting in your gum, you can develop gum disease.


One of the main triggers of nail biting is stress. Stress is pretty bad for your health, although we all have to deal with it in some way or another. Your stress levels are probably fairly high if you are a chronic nail biter. Other than having the other negative health effects, stress is probably one of the worst. The only good thing about knowing that nail biting is stressed related is that you will have an easier time understanding your triggers. By realizing when you bite your nails the most, you will be able to avoid these situations, or at least recognize that you are in a stressful situation.

Nail biting is only one of the many bad habits that many people have. You can look to the internet to find ways to help yourself from stopping your nail biting habit, or at least limit it. One of your best bets is talking to a healthcare professional about it. They will have some of the best, and most foolproof, ways to stop your nail biting habit. Even if you have never experienced any of these illnesses, you should still try to stop your habit before something does happen. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms that are mentioned above, make sure to make an appointment with your doctor to talk about it. You may find out that you are experiencing one or more of these problems that come with nail biting.