Perhaps you occasionally find your nails between your teeth while you are in a boring class or anticipating an important job meeting or watching a horror movie. Nail biting is often a habit that starts in childhood; it is more intense in children and teenagers and less intense after 18, however it can go on to adulthood.
Children and adults are often not aware they are gnawing their nails because it becomes a habit. Nail biting can range from a mild habit to a continuous serious problem.
For most people, boredom and stress are the main culprits for it; this habit is just a way to ease anxiety. Loneliness and frustration can also be considered triggers, and genes play a role according to some research. Gnawing fingernails can be a symptom of a psychological issue like (OCD) obsessive compulsive disorder.
People who check the door locks compulsively or wash their hands several times are more likely biting their nails. Many nail biter children have also psychiatric disorders, like for example attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or separation anxiety disorder. Nail biting can be considered a form of self- mutilation, if it is causing a serious damage to the nail and its surrounding skin.
Nail biting has physical consequences because it can lead to sore and red fingers and the skin around nails may become infected and even bleed. This bad habit can cause as well weakened and badly aligned teeth, not to mention it is also embarrassing.
Many children outgrow it eventually, but as for adults who still struggle with it they can use a colored or clear nail polish and to trim their nails short so they do not have much to bite. In addition, they can use alternate techniques for stress management such as meditation, squeezing a stress ball or yoga.