Although a lot of people consider nail-biting a harmless habit, a medical practitioner, Dr. Raphael Akpan has sent a warning to nail biters to desist from the habit as it makes them vulnerable to various diseases.
While speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the medical practitioner noted that nail-biting is a habit whereby a person bites his or her nails with the teeth.
Speaking further, he said nail-biting could be more harmful than expected.
“Nail-biting is a common habit that affects people of all ages that they may have picked up as a child which many people do not pay attention to, but very harmful.
“Your nails are an ideal location for bacteria to thrive, and that includes potentially pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli.
“These are found the underside of the nail tips. “As one bites his or her nails, those bacteria can easily be transferred into ones’ mouth and the rest of his or her body, where they may lead to infections.
“One’s fingernails may actually be twice as dirty as the fingers, considering that they are difficult to keep clean, making this a prime point of transfer for infectious organisms,” he said.
Akpan added that nail biters were obnoxious to skin infections which might lead to swelling around the nail that had to be removed through surgery.
“Nail biters are susceptible to Paronychia, that is, a skin infection that occurs around your nail, they are also exposed to warts and dental problems.
“As you chew your nails, bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms can pierce through tiny abrasions.
“This can lead to swelling, redness, and pus around your nail and this painful condition may have to be drained surgically.
“Warts on your fingers caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are common among chronic nail biters. These warts can easily spread to your mouth and lips as you bite your nails.’’
Akpan added that nail-biting also could interfere with proper dental occlusion or the manner in which your upper and lower teeth come together when you close your mouth. “Your teeth may shift out of their proper positions, become misshapen, wear down prematurely, and become weakened if you bite your nails over time,” he said.
He advised nail-bitters to always engage in activities that could keep them away from the habit.