How many of you bite your nails? I know I used to be guilty of it. The habit started when I was a kid and came with me well into university. Everyone would tell me to stop, but I just thought it was because it makes your nails look bad. As it turns out, biting your nails is a disgusting habit and can actually be poisoning you.
Here are some reasons you should stop biting your nails. If these don't convince you, nothing will.
1. They're Filthy
Your fingernails are twice as dirty as your fingers. They catch all the dirt and debris underneath, and even if you wash your hands the dirt can still gather there. Imagine all the things you touch throughout the day, then eating the dirt that comes with it. Plus, remember you use your hands when you go to the bathroom...
"Our hands come into contact with all kinds of debris and pathogens, and stuff tends to get stuck under our nails," Dr. Adam Friedman says.
2. It Makes You Sick
In addition to all that gross dirt under your nails, your nails also collect a ton of bacteria. In an experiment conducted by Turkish scientists in 2007, 59 people had their mouths swabbed for bacteria that causes diarrhea and vomiting, like Escherichia coli. 76% of people who bite their nails tested positive for the bacteria, compared to 26.5% of those who do not. Biting your nails exposes your body to numerous bacteria and viruses, so why put your health at risk?
3. Dental Bills
Biting your nails isn't just bad for your stomach health, but it can also damage your teeth. When you bite your nails, your teeth click together, which can cause significant damage over time. It can lead to tooth chips, damage, and even tooth loss. Plus, if your nail ends up cutting your lip or gum, bacteria can get into the wound and cause even more problems.
"It was determined that the recession defects were indirect effects of habitual [nail biting.]," said one study conducted through the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. The fingernail-biting habit and the lingual bonded retainer led to the indirect development of bone dehiscence and, consequently, [gum] recession."
4. Hand Herpes
Alright, so maybe that's not what it's called, but if you have oral herpes, which 40% of adults do, it can be passed to your fingers through nail biting. It's called herpetic whitlow. You'll notice a fever, plus a painful, burning sensation in your fingertips. You could also develop blood-filled sores which will last for about two weeks. Doesn't sound too pleasant, does it?