Biting Your Nails Is Even More Disgusting Than You Thought

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"Is Biting Your Nails Dangerous—Or Just Gross?" Time magazine asks. Turns out that the answer is both. It is seriously gross how dangerous biting your nails can be.


Nail disorder expert Dr. Richard Scher (You hear that folks? A whole expert just on nail disorders.) breaks down the disgusting details of how ripping that hang nail with your teeth will probably put you in the hospital.

Apparently no matter what you do, your nails are filthy and full of bacteria like salmonella and E. coli which can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain if ingested. That's definitely gross and highly undesirable but if you like to live on the dangerous side, you might risk it. However, that's not the worst it.

Long-term, habitual nail nibblers can also suffer from a type of infection called paronychia, Scher says. Tears or abrasions in the skin of your fingertips allow strains of bacteria or yeast to get inside. Both cause swelling, redness, and a buildup of puss around and under the nail, which has to be drained surgically and treated with antibiotics or antifungal agents, he explains.

For some unexplained reason, the HPV virus is a common infection among nail biters which they can spread to their mouths and lips. If that's not enough, you can also fuck up your teeth.

Constant biting can lead to poor dental occlusion, so the biter's teeth shift out of position or become oddly shaped," Scher says. Biters also suffer from higher rates of gum disease and infection, he adds.

Stop biting your nails right now! Stop it. Stop it. You hear me? Put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it when you start biting. Tell all your friends so they can remind you not to bite. Buy some of that terrible tasting nail polish. Do something! I don't want anyone getting salmonella induced diarrhea because they can't keep their fingers out of their mouth.

Another way to look at it is now that this information is out in the world, everyone who sees you biting your nails will know exactly how disgusting it is. Trust me, you don't want that kind of side-eye.


Image via Shuttershock



I am a lifelong biter and I tried everything to stop. The only "cure" I have found is wearing fake nails - they're only $6 for a pack of 100 and that'll give me a month's worth of nails. Plus, no one knows they're fake unless I tell them, I seriously get so many compliments and no longer worry about people looking at my hands. Here's my nails from a few weeks ago: