Biting My Nails, Onychophagy, commonly known as nail-biting, is a fierce battle to be in, and stopping it seems impossible, yet, to tell you, it is not. There is a bunch of testimonials from people who have successfully stopped this habit.
What home remedy can I use to stop biting my nails? Stop yourself on biting your nails by cutting them short, making them smell or taste bad, pampering them, covering them with something, finding other ways to cope with stress and anxiety, and more.
For those people who habitually bite their nails, here are among the suggestions that you can try to quit nail biting habit once and for all. Check them all out.
Reasons To Stop Nail Biting
If you are starting to develop a weird habit of biting your nails, you might wonder why do nail biters need to stop the habit? Here are some reasons why:
Bad Nail Growth
Nail-biting can cause damage to the tissue surrounding your nail. As a result, your nail may grow abnormally and not as healthy as it should. It can damage your nail’s appearance and makes it fragile.
When you bite your nails, you harm not only the surrounding tissues but also your teeth and jaw. You can chip or break your teeth, which leads to possible tooth issues. You can even develop jaw problems and oral infections over time. These problems can spoil your smile!
The more you put your fingers in your mouth, the higher the chances of you getting sick. Why? Because your hands become the easiest access of germs from the surfaces you made contact with to your mouth. Your nails are full of bacteria that can cause you sickness.
Nail Biting Home Remedies
Here are some tips you can try to save yourself from biting your nails again.
Cut Your Nails Short
It’s more satisfying to bite long nails, so cut your nails as short as possible. This way, your teeth can’t grab any part of the nail, and you’ll eventually give up biting.
Make Them Smell And Taste Bad
Apply your nails with something that has a terrible taste or odor. These would make you think twice before biting and could help you stop when you’re doing it.
Some suggestions include olive oil and garlic, and aloe gel and neem oil. You can also add something that would hurt your tongue (like spicy sauce and cayenne peppers) or something sour (like wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar). There are also nail polishes with a bitter flavor.
You can’t bite your nails if something is covering them. Gloves would work, but if it’s not applicable for your daily routine, look for something that can cover your nails—perhaps, nail stickers or even sticky tapes. Covering your nails will help you become mindful by the time you try to chew your nail.
Think That They Are Gross
One of the motivations is thinking that your nails are gross—full of bacteria and germs—because they are. Each time you find yourself putting your finger in your mouth, think about where your hands had been all day. That could help you resist yourself by biting your nail.
Find Other Ways To Cope
Nail-biting is often associated with anxiety, pressure, nervousness, or stress. Take note of how you’re feeling or doing whenever you bite your nails. It would help you know what drives you to bite your nails.
Then try ways to cope, such as playing with a stress ball or chewing gum rather than biting your nail.
Set Goals And Reward Yourself
Set goals. You can set yourself to grow your nails to a particular length or not to bite them for a certain period of time. That way, your mind will be focused on the goal, which helps you to resist biting. Give yourself rewards for every goal accomplished!
Start With Little Restrictions
Sure, it would be very hard to stop the habit at once. Start small. Restrict one nail at a time. Once you have kept it up for a while, place another nail in the biting-restricted zone then keep going until all your fingers are off-limits.
Consult A Doctor
It isn’t a home remedy. But if any of the methods above do not work for you, talk to your doctor. He might recommend therapies or other options that may help you with your nail-biting problem.
Is nail biting common?
In a survey in France, 26% of the population (almost 3 out of 10 people) bite their nails. About 42% of young adults are between ages 21 and 25.
Another study shows that most the people bite their nails. 45% of teenagers and 60% of children are experiencing this habit.
Is there a good thing we can get from biting our nails?
Besides from being a coping mechanism for stimulations such as nervousness and anxiety, nail-biting also promotes faster nail growth. That is if the nail bed remains intact and undamaged.
Do our ancestors bite their nails, too?
Yes, nail-biting seems to stretch back its history from thousands of years ago.
The earliest recorded nail-biter is a man during ancient Greece named Cleanthes. Sidonius, a Stoic philosopher, wrote about this man who gained wisdom from biting his nails. Onychopagia, the technical term for nail-biting, is also a Greek word meaning “nail-eater.”
Is nail biting common?
Being conscious and mindful of the habit plays a key role in eliminating nail-biting. When you can notice and realize what you are doing, you would be able to resist and think twice.
That is already one step forward to your goal. However, to eliminate nail-bitingly, you will need a lot of willpower and patience.