How to Stop Biting Your Nails: 7 Tips (& Natural Remedies)

It is important to stop biting your nails, as it can lead to damage to your teeth and fingers, and give your hands an unkempt appearance. It can also increase your risk for infections that require treatment. 

Scientifically known as onycophagia, biting your nails is a habit that affects men and women. It can start in childhood and last until adulthood. It is often associated with anxiety and feelings of insecurity. 

To stop biting your nails, it is important to manage your anxiety, which may be at the root of the problem. Speak to your doctor if you are unable to stop biting your nails after trying these tips. 

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Tips to stop biting your nails

You can curb the habit of biting your nails by: 

1. Keep your nails short and filed

Short nails can prevent the temptation to bite your nails and prevent this habit from worsening. Regularly painting your nails and treating them may inspire you to keep your nails aesthetically pleasing.

2. Paint your nails with special nail polish 

There are nail polishes on the market specifically for nail biting. These have a bitter taste when brought to the mouth, which can deter unconscious nail biting. They tend to be clear in color, which means they can be applied to men, women and children over 4. These nail polishes can be found at most pharmacies.  

3. Apply false or gel nails

Applying false nails or fel nails can improve the look of the your nails, as well as decrease biting impulses. You can also try wrapping your nails in band-aids for a week, so that you can achieve nail growth and see how much they have improved on their own. 

4. Distract yourself with a stress ball 

Adopting a new habit to substitute nail biting, like playing with a stress ball or an elastic, are ways to occupy your mind and nails with a new activity. 

5. Chew gum

Chewing gum, particularly during moments of stress or boredom, is another great way to stop biting your nails. 

6. Invest in a hobby

Look for ways to relieve your anxiety, like listening to music, having a conversation with a friend, or exercising after work. These can help to relieve anxiety that triggers bad habits, like chewing your nails. 

7. Maintain a balanced diet 

In some cases, biting nails may be a consequence of a nutritional deficiencies, like decreased calcium or magnesium. This leads to compulsive nail biting as a way to recover lost minerals. 

Maintaining a balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals can help to prevent nutritional deficiencies. 

Consequences of nail biting

Some of the main consequences of biting nails include: 

  • Wounds on finger skin and cuticles, which increases the risk for fungal or bacterial infections 
  • Deformed nails, fingers and skin, which can lead to embarrassment and more anxiety
  • Increased risk for developing gastrointestinal problems, like gastroenteritis and gastritis 
  • Difficulty performing certain activities, like playing an instrument, drawing and writing 

The fingernails are needed to protect the upper nails and also support the pressure exerted by fingers when in use. They are needed to act as a barrier between our outer body and blood circulation, which is why they should be maintained and healthy. 

Natural remedies 

There are many natural remedies that can prevent nail biting and resulting tooth and finger damage. You can rub your nails into a garlic clove cut in half, so that the strong odor can deter your from bringing your fingers to your mouth. 

You can also apply tea tree oil to your nails, as this essential oil has a repulsive taste that can also stop nail biting.