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Why Biting Nails Can Seriously Harm Your Health

Why Biting Nails Can Seriously Harm Your Health

First of all, I sincerely apologize to my nail biting readers for being a spoilsport, but there is nothing I can do about it. This article will only show you all the cons of this horrible habit of yours, because there are no pros that I can find, or science can find.

The medical term for nail biting is onychophagia. According to psychiatrists, this is categorized under an impulsive control disorder where you can’t control the urge to resist a temptation, urge, or impulse that may lead to harm you in some way. Psychiatrists also believe that this is an act of obsessive compulsive disorder. Anyone can bite their nails. It is believed that 45% of teenagers tend to do this. At times this will roll over into adulthood and become a lifelong habit. There are even extreme cases where professional help is required.

Nail biting usually occurs when a person is suffering from stress, anxiety, or nervousness. Such feelings trigger the person to automatically chew on the nails to attain calmness. Now, is it the only way to calm yourself, or is their any alternative solutions? Of course there are. And before we answer that, here are the horrifying facts that will explain why you should stop biting your nails.

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1. Your nails are full of germs.

No matter how many times you wash your hands, germs will still live under your fingernails. Because among all other body parts, your hands, meaning your fingers which have nails, come into contact with surfaces of all types. The thing is, your fingers may stay clean, but your nails aren’t. So when you are biting your nails, you are also biting on the earthly bacteria, germs, yeast, etc. Yum!

2. You are transferring the bacteria into your mouth.

So what happens after chewing on your delicious germs and bacteria? You are carting them from your nails to your mouth. Once they are inside your mouth, they will eventually enter your digestive system. In 2007, a group of Turkish scientists experimented on 59 people, combined of nail biters and non-nail biters, to see whether they transport bacteria to the mouth. After swabbing each person’s saliva, the results were quite alarming. 76% actually transported E. coli, and similar germs, compared to 26.5% of non biters. E.coli is responsible for diarrhea and vomiting.

3. In extreme case, you can end up with oral STIs.

It is not only commuting E.coli and other bacteria, in extreme cases, you may end up with oral STIs. If you are a nail biter, and one fine day you notice herpes, or blisters on your lips, don’t fret. They are the results of your nail bacteria that you have successfully transferred to your mouth.

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4. From bacteria in your mouth to dental damage.

When you are constantly gnawing down your nails, your teeth are clicking together. This results in tooth fracture, tooth chips, and in rare cases, tooth loss.

5. For biters who wear braces, brace yourself!

Those of you who wear braces, you are risking yourself into tooth resorption, meaning your body cells are reabsorbing its own cells, and tissues. There is also a possibility that your braces might break down which would force you to undergo expensive and potentially painful dental treatment.

6. You’ll end up having stinky breath.

Stinky breath occurs due to bacteria in your mouth and saliva. When you are continuously biting your nails and transferring different bacteria, they are prone to permanently stay inside your mouth. This leads to stinky breath, which, no matter how many times you wash your mouth with fresheners, the foul breath will never go away.

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7. You may have pus in your fingernails.

What happens when you bite your nails? You leave the nail bed exposed. Bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, can enter the open pores and build pus around the nails, causing nail abnormality. This pus is a horrible business. It can be cured through pills, or has to be drained out through surgery.

8. Polish your nails, but don’t eat them!

Nails look beautiful with nail polishes. But if you are prone to eat them, then stop using them. Because polishes contain harmful chemicals, and some varnishes contain formaldehyde, the chemical that is used to embalm dead bodies. If this information isn’t enough scary to put you off, then I don’t know what is.

9. In the end, your nails will never grow back to normal.

Nails are formed on nail beds, and never-ending biting will eventually ruin your nail bed. Your once long nails will gradually shorten, and at one point, will no longer grow any further. The nail’s surface will tear off as well, looking awful, and embarrassing for you to publicly show off.

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So, how can you ever stop?

Now, you know what harm you are doing to yourself through this horrendous activity. Previously, I have mentioned that there are solutions to stop biting nails. Well, first of all, try to stay relaxed and avoid too much stress and frustration. If you can’t, or not allowed to, then indulge yourself to physical exercise/activities that releases stress. You can go for manicures. That will make you feel guilty of spoiling your beautifully trimmed, polished nails. Put some nail polish and imagine the harm you are doing by biting into the varnishes.

And if you really want to chew on something then try sugar-free chewing gum. They might help you! Just stay away from biting your beautiful nails because when you do that it shows how anxious you stay all day. In public places with people around, it might not be a pretty sight.

Featured photo credit: PathDoc via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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