Is your child a nail-biter? These facts should put them off it

It's something many children – and adults – do, but it can have some pretty unpleasant side-effects

young boy biting fingernail
(Image credit: Alamy)

Nail biting can cause some health issues you might have expected – will the below facts make your child stop biting their nails for good?

There’s so much to think about when it comes to our children. If you’re not worried about screen time you might have childhood mental health on your mind – and then there are those bad habits like nail biting, too. 

If your child is always biting their nails, and you’ve tried every trick in the book to make them stop, you’re not alone. 

However, even kids who revel in the grossest facts might not like to find out that, when you bite your nails, you’re putting yourself at risk of a whole host of potential diseases.

Richard Scher, M.D., told Men’s Health that a lot of germs live in our fingernails, Enterobacteriaceae. This family of bacteria includes salmonella and E. coli, said Dr. Scher, and “tends to thrive in the cosy crevice beneath the tips of your nails.”

He adds, “When you bite your nails, those bacteria end up in your mouth and gut, where they can cause gastro-intestinal infections that lead to diarrhoea and abdominal pain.”

But that’s not all. Biting your nails can be harmful to your teeth, too. Anna Peterson, a dentist and dental therapist, said, per HuffPost UK that nail biting can cause your teeth to chip, crack, and break, due to the pressure and stress we apply to our teeth when we bite our nails. 

It can lead to resorption, which in the longer term can lead to the tooth falling out. 

And, to finish off this triple whammy of undesirable nail-biting consequences, it can lead to fungal infections, too. Per Health, “A skin infection called paronychia can occur after an injury to the nail area from biting or picking at the nail or trimming or pushing back the cuticle too far.”

If this isn’t treated, it can lead to a build-up of pus. This can cause your nail to look yellow or green, and eventually lead to an abscess and further nail damage.

So, if you’ve tried everything else, will these facts help your children biting their nails?

In other health news, here are the common types of insect bites in the UK, while this is why your sunscreen might be giving you less protection than you think. Meanwhile, here are some natural remedies for hay fever, recommended by doctors, that can also be used in pregnancy.

Freelance writer

Adam is an experienced writer who regularly covers the royal family and celebrity news for the likes of Goodto, The List, The Metro, and Entertainment Daily. However, you can also find Adam covering relationships, mental health, pet care, and contributing to titles such as Creative Bloq.