The Story behind Nail Biting
Nail biting or onychophagia is an unwanted but very common behavior characterized by putting one’s nail into the mouth and chewing on it. Some may say that nail biting is a harmless habit, but it’s actually considered a disorder that affects almost anyone regardless of age and gender. In the United States, 23% of children 3 to 6 years old, 33% of children 7 to 10 years old, and 45% of adolescents have nail biting disorders.
Continuous nail biting can result to damaged or bleeding nails. Some cases leave the gums damaged. Severe cases involve biting the nail until lost. Some cases are so serious that even the cuticle, the nail-bed skin, or even the finger is chewed. Nail biting can also leave injuries exposed to viral and microbial infections, especially when saliva gets into the wounds. Nail biting can also result to dental problems, and when bitten-off nails are ingested, stomach problems can occur.
Among the factors that cause nail biting are anxiety, nervousness, and stress. Some studies even say that nail biting is a symptom of ADHD (Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder) or OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).
To address and remove nail biting, here are some helpful tips:
- Know what the cause of the stress is and help resolve it right away. If resolving the cause of stress immediately is not possible, then encourage that person talk to someone and vent out.
- Clean and shape the nails always. Grooming and maintaining the good appearance of the nails will help discourage some people from biting or disfiguring them. Always keep the nails cleanly trimmed and filed.
- Replace nail biting with another activity like clasping on a stress ball. Help the person fight the urge of biting his nail by engaging him in a different activity.
- Use those products that are specially designed for nail biters. These products are applied to the nails and have taste awful. They’re effective in stopping nail biting. Some products even have ingredients that help repair nails.
- Wear gloves. Some people with serious nail biting disorder will find it hard to get rid of the habit. Wearing gloves will stop these people from biting their nails and slowly rid of such disorder.
- While in the process of getting rid of such habit, remind nail biters, especially the children, to frequently wash their hands. The act of subconsciously putting one’s nail into the mouth often increases risks of contracting disease-causing microbes. This is where personal hygiene and touchless hygiene systems in the toilet and bathroom will come in handy.
Having touchless systems like touchless dispenser, touchless hand dryer, hygienic door handle, and step stool can ensure that washing of hands is done properly and cross contamination is prevented efficiently.
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