How to Stop Biting Nails

If you're struggling with nail-biting, you're not alone! About 20 to 30% of the population are nail biters, including up to 45% of teenagers. This means you are just one of the millions who are also struggling with this bad habit.
Aside from causing your fingers to look unsightly, nail-biting can lead to sore fingers, open wounds, and even infections. Furthermore, Regularly biting your nails can cause your teeth to shift out of place, which can require correctional braces or a retainer.
Thinking about everything we touch in a day, it's no surprise that nail-biting can also lead to more viral and bacterial infections. Despite all of the reasons to stop nail-biting, many struggle with breaking the habit. This is because, in many cases, nail-biting is an indicator of a deeper issue than just an unsavory habit.

How to Stop Biting Nails

Get to The Root of the Issue
Why are you biting your nails? Reflecting on the root cause of your nail-biting will help you pinpoint a surefire way to eliminate the habit altogether. While it is possible for someone to simply bite their nails out of habit, most people have some underlying reason that is waiting to be addressed.

Anxiety

Do you begin biting your nails in anticipation of or after an event that has made you anxious or nervous? When you're feeling tired or upset, do you feel triggered to begin nail-biting? If so, your habit may be spurred on by anxiety.

Boredom

Many people simply bite their nails out of pure boredom. Rather than sitting still and with their own thoughts, nail biters can't help but dig in when there's a moment of silence or nothing to do. This can be out of the driving need to keep busy or just a way to keep the mind focused on outside stimuli.

OCD

As it turns out, nail-biting can be an indicator of an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Doctors classify chronic nail-biting as a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder since the person has difficulty stopping. Therefore, permanently breaking this habit will take effort, consistency, and continued practice.
Become Knowledgeable
Once you know the driving "why" behind your nail-biting habit, you'll be able to mentally overcome the urge to do so. People who are self-aware of their habits and the events that lead them to bite their nails are more likely to make a long-lasting positive change.
On the other hand, those who are not given the tools to reflect on the reason behind their behavior are less likely to make a permanent change. To get started, pay close attention to when you bite your nails throughout the day.
Does it happen when you are feeling anxious? Do you find yourself passively biting your nails in between episodes of your favorite TV show? Are you unable to make it through your day until all of your nails are chewed down to the same length? Finding your answer to your "why" behind nail biting is your first step to overcoming the harmful habit.
Find a New Habit
Many people bite their nails due to a persistent oral fixation. It is this same reason that drives many people to smoke cigarettes, chew gum, bite their lips, etc. Instead of biting your nails, choose a healthy habit to replace nail-biting with. For example, chewing sugar-free gum or snacking on celery are two great alternatives.
Get a Manicure
One of the top ways in which people stated they got over nail-biting was to get a manicure. Yes, this goes for men, too! Whether you want your nails polished with bright colors or simply trimmed, exfoliated, and made to look nice, manicures can help you overcome the need to bite your nails.
Individuals who bite their nails are often embarrassed by the irritated, red, and bloody stumps they've created. So, getting a manicure is a wonderful incentive to keep your hands looking and feeling nice. Think of a manicure as a way to start fresh and an incentive to keep them looking nice.

Let's Start Today!

Remember, the first step to diminishing a bad habit is to actually take the first step. Begin by reflecting on why you believe you bite your nails. Do you tend to bite your nails before or after stressful situations? Do you feel compelled to bite your nails when you don't have anything better to do?