Terrifying Reasons to Stop Nail Biting—for Good

13 ) Chronic Headaches

Nail biting is the gateway drug for tooth grinding and jaw clenching, according to a study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation. But the real culprit here is anxiety: People who deal with their worries by biting their nails are more likely to also have bruxism (grinding your teeth) and jaw clenching, both of which can lead to long-term oral problems like TMJ syndrome, chronic headaches, and broken teeth.

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12) Painful Hangnails

Normal hangnails are painful but have you ever had one that became infected? It’ll have you typing with your knuckles. Chewing exacerbates dry skin, making peeling worse and leading to more hangnails, explains Kristine Arthur, M.D., an internist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA, adding that people who chew their nails often use their teeth to peel off hangnails, leading to a tear becoming longer and deeper.

And if you get really aggressive, gnawing on your cuticles or biting your nails to the quick, you can open up small sores on your fingers or cuticles, allowing dangerous bacteria to get inside and cause them to become infected. Prevention is your best defense against hangnails so moisturizing regularly can help, she adds.

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