This might sound like a dig at all those people who enjoy chewing their nails. And there are quite a lot of them I must confess. However, there are several harmful effects of biting your fingernails that must not be ignored.
And it seems proper that after discussing the reasons why people do it, the next step was to lay down the facts about the implications of the habit to our health.
As was stated in the last piece about this habit, nail biting generally occurs when one is under a lot of stress, is anxious or just generally nervous about one thing or the other. At the same time, it could be one of the symptoms of a deep psychological problem.
Whatever the reason for nail biting, it is not as harmless to the health as it looks. Some of the harmful effects of biting your fingernails are discussed below.
The Harmful effects of Biting your Fingernails
1. Germs under the nails
The nails are a good repository for germs. It doesn’t matter how many times you wash them, germs have a way of always being present under the nails.
So the simple fact is this; when you eat your fingernails, you are also ingesting all sorts of microorganisms including several that could be harmful to your health.
2. Biting your nails introduces bacteria into your body
Biting or chewing something full of bacteria is one sure way of introducing bacteria into the body. So by biting on your nails, you have inadvertently introduced germs that could be harmful to your health.
This could get worse as the bacteria can move from your mouth to your stomach and upset your system in unexpected ways. Studies have shown that dangerous bacteria like E.coli can be transferred from the nails to the digestive system. E.coli is one of the most notorious bacteria for causing diarrhea and vomiting in humans.
3. Oral STIs might result as a consequence
As a nail biter, the presence of sores, blisters, and herpes on your lips shouldn’t be a surprise to you. This is one of the harmful effects of biting your fingernails in extreme cases. The presences of herpes or blisters in and around your mouth are symptoms of what is known as Oral STIs.
The only positive from this is that one has to be extremely unlucky to fall victim to oral STIs as a result of nail-biting.
4. Damage to the teeth
This may also seem far-fetched to people who love eating their nails. However, if you are constantly gnawing on your teeth, the net effect could be harmful to your teeth.
The wear and tear of the constant clicking of teeth can weaken the enamel and hasten the onset of tooth decay.
5. Halitosis as a result of nail-biting
For those who can’t seem to get rid of that stinky breath, it is high time you checked if your nail-biting habit is not related to that embarrassing problem. Perhaps, the solution to your halitosis is to stop chewing on your nails.
Halitosis or stinky breath is one of the harmful effects of biting your fingernails as the germs transferred to your mouth combine with saliva to cause bad breath.
6. Infected fingernails
Biting nails to the root leaves the nails exposed to harmful bacteria in the environment. These bacteria, such as Staph aureus, can enter the pores of the exposed skin easily.
The result is infection characterized by the production of pus by the infected nail. This results in abnormal nails.
The only way to be rid of the problem is to spend money on drugs or expensive surgery to drain out the pus.
7. Ingesting poisonous substances from nail polish
This should be of great concern to ladies who paint their nails. The use of nail polish is common among modern ladies. But if you have the habit of chewing polished nail, you are setting yourself up for some bad news health-wise.
Some nail polish contains formaldehyde, a harmful chemical to the body when ingested, which is used to embalm dead bodies.
I guess mentioning dead bodies and nail biting in the same sentence should he enough to warn you from continuing with that habit.
8. Permanently deformed nails
Ultimately, having permanently deformed nails is one of the obvious harmful effects of biting your fingernails.
Constantly eating on your nails would weaken the foundation on which nails are formed on your fingers. Most chronic nail-biters are familiar with this scenario: first of all, the nail is bitten right down to almost nothing; with time it becomes difficult to grow back; then one is left with the embarrassing image of a finger without nails which look like a deformity.
So, to avoid all these harmful effects of biting your fingernails, you must do everything in your power to quit the habit. And if you know somebody with that habit, you now have enough knowledge at your disposal to scare them into stopping it.