Side Effects of Nail Biting

Side Effects of Nail Biting
Side Effects of Nail Biting (Image: Nail biting produces side effects. Sue Bailey:

Compulsive nail biting is an embarrassing, unsightly habit. People may bite their nails due to obsessive compulsive disorder, drug addiction, stress, boredom or habit. Nail biting not only leads to ugly nails and hands but can also cause side effects.


Biting the fingernails can lead to red, painful fingertips. Sometimes the nail biter will bites so low it leads to extreme pain and or bleeding. The fingertips of a nail biter can get swollen or be referred to as "big-headed fingers."


Bacteria in the mouth or environment can enter cuts and cracks in the skin around the nail and produce infections called paronychia.

Nail biting can lead to infections.  Chris Craig:
Nail biting can lead to infections. Chris Craig:

Deformed Nail Bed

After years of nail biting, the nail bed gets deformed. Even if nail biters grow out their nails, the nails may look odd and have very short nail beds.

Cuticle Biting

Often a person who bites her nails also bites and pulls off the skin from around the nail bed, called the cuticle. Cuticle damage may cause very red, painful lesions.

Chipped Teeth

Nail biting can cause broken or chipped front teeth. Germs and bacteria from underneath the nail can enter your mouth and cause cavities or gum infections.

Psychological Side Effects

Nail biting may cause self-consciousness and embarrassment, which may lead to worry and anxiety and may, in turn, cause more nail biting.

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