Biting your nails can make you sick, researchers say


Photo: HAYKIRDI/iStockphoto

College Station, TX – Biting your nails may seem like a harmless habit, but it can be bad for your health, according to research from Texas A&M University.

Researchers offer five reasons why you shouldn’t bite your nails:

  • Germs under fingernails can enter the mouth and body, significantly raising the risk of illness.
  • Regular nail biting can cause your teeth to shift out of place or become chipped or broken. Germs on your fingers also could infect or irritate your gums, resulting in bad breath.
  • The risk of hangnails or ingrown nails increases. Hangnails are open sores easily prone to infection. Ingrown nails are those that grow under the skin.
  • The risk of nail infection – or paronychia – is increased. Symptoms include a red, swollen area around the nail, often at the cuticle or at a hangnail site. Bacterial infections may lead to the development of pus-filled blisters.
  • Nail polishes and gel polishes contain toxins, putting those who paint their nails at risk of poisoning.

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