• Little-Known Risks to Bitting Your Nails

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  • You would be surprised at how many people actually bite their nails. Do you know why people do this?  Did you know, some research suggests that there are health risks to biting your nails?  Check out these little known risks to biting you nails and a great way to help you stop it!

    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.

    Estimates suggest that 30 percent of children, 45 percent of teenagers, 25 percent of young adults, and 5 percent of older adults bite their nails, with the aesthetic consequences being the most obvious.

    For some people, the social stigma and embarrassment over the look of their nails causes them to become depressed, isolated, or avoid activities they would otherwise enjoy. Beyond this, however, is there reason to worry if you regularly bite your nails?

    Woman biting nails

    5 Little-Known Risks to Biting Your Nails

    Nail biting may actually be harmful to you beyond the emotional effects. For instance…

    1. Disease-Causing Bacteria

    Your nails are an ideal location for bacteria to thrive, and that includes potentially pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli (which would love to call the underside of your nail tips home).

    As you bite your nails, those bacteria easily transfer into your mouth and the rest of your body, where they may lead to infections. Your fingernails may actually be twice as dirty as your fingers, considering they’re difficult to keep clean, making this a prime point of transfer for infectious organisms.

    Although I’m not aware of any research on this, it’s often suggested (anecdotally) that people who bite their nails have stronger immune systems, and therefore get sick less often, than those who do not.

    One potential explanation for this is that nail biting may help introduce pathogens from your environment to your immune system, helping it to learn and build defenses, similar to what occurs when people eat their boogers.

    2. Nail Infections

    Nail biters are susceptible to paronychia, a skin infection that occurs around your nails. As you chew your nails, bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms can enter through tiny tears or abrasions, leading to swelling, redness, and pus around your nail.

    This painful condition may have to be drained surgically. Bacterial infections caused by nail biting are actually one of the most common nail problems, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

    3. Warts Due to HPV Infections

    Warts on your fingers caused by human papillomavirus, or HPV, are common among chronic nail biters. (Here I’m referring to the types of HPV that cause warts on your hands, as opposed to those that lead to genital warts and, rarely, cervical cancer.) These warts can easily spread to your mouth and lips as you bite your nails.

    Break Your Nail-Biting Addiction Using the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

    I also urge you to try the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT is a powerful self-help method that can help you rapidly reduce the emotional impact of memories and incidents that trigger emotional distress.

    It’s very effective for regular stress management as well as for breaking all kinds of addictions. Once the emotional distress is reduced or removed, your body can often rebalance itself and accelerate healing.


    Read full article: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/07/26/nail-biting.aspx?x_cid=20140726_nonlead_facebookdoc

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