The habit of biting nails starts in childhood and may continue till early adulthood. Most people successfully abandon this habit by the time they reach the age of 20 years. However, there are some adults who may continue to bite nails beyond the age of 30 years. The main causes for this habit are stress, anxiety, inactivity, boredom, etc.
Some children learn to bite nails after observing other family members doing the same. This habit not only makes the fingernails look ugly, but also may have an adverse effect on the health. It leads to broken, painful nails along with bleeding and infections of the nail bed. It may also lead to dental problems. Therefore, it is necessary to practice some remedies to manage this compulsive behavior effectively.
Remedies for Adults
You need a lot of patience and willpower to overcome this habit. Here are some useful remedies that may serve this purpose:
Cover Your Hands
Wear gloves to keep your nails covered. You may also cover up the nails with bandages or stickers, which may act as barriers, so that you may not be able to access your fingers to chew the nails.
Engage Your Hands
Keep something in your hands all the time. The best thing that can be used for this purpose is stress ball. Or, you may keep your hands busy in activities like painting, writing, or playing video games. This may keep your hands busy, and you may not get a chance to bite your nails.
Train Your Mind
Tie a rubber band around your wrist, and the moment feel the urge to bite your nails, snap it. It may take some time to develop this habit. Once you get accustomed to this habit, you may find that the pain you experience trains your mind to refrain from biting your nails.
Manicure your nails regularly so that they are in a well-trimmed condition. As a result, you may not get any uneven edges of the nails to bite. Moreover, the pleasing sight of nicely filed nails may stop you from making them ugly by biting them.
Remedies for Children
There are a number of remedies that may help your child to get rid of the habit of biting nails. They are as follows:
- Always keep their nails in a neatly cut condition so that there is no extra nail left that they may bite upon.
- Neither punish them for chewing nails nor promise any incentive for refraining from biting nails. Rather, shower them with praises when they successfully avoid the habit for several days.
- Children usually tend to bite nails during watching their favorite TV show. Keep some drawing books ready near their hands and ask them to color pictures while watching TV. This may distract their mind and the temptation to bite nails may subside.
- Make some alternative arrangements like sugar-free lollipops or carrot sticks for them to munch on. This may keep their mouth busy, and the urge to bite the nails may decrease for a brief period of time.
- Apply some solution on the nails of your child which is bitter in taste. There is a colorless lacquer available in the market that can be used for this purpose. Alternatively, you may use lemon juice or bitter gourd juice. The unpleasant taste may help discourage them from biting their nails.
Remedies that might work for you may not work for others. Therefore, you have to find out for yourself which treatment is the most suitable one for you. The same thing is applies for the remedies for your child too. If the cause of the nail biting habit is some underlying stress, then efforts have to be made to reduce the tension and anxiety.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.