What Does Nail Biting Mean And How To Stop (3 Killer Ways)

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Are you a chronic nail biter? Or you are looking for ways on how to stop nail biting for good? Or you’re seeking to know the spiritual meaning of nail-biting?

Well, whichever category you belong, if you do not know What Does Nail Biting Means, you are like a man with no direction.

what does nail biting mean, how to stop nail biting
Photo Credits: Healthcenter.com

In fact, let me ask you more politely. What does nail biting mean to you?

Any answer? Or should I help you with it?

Well, before I do that, let me quickly tell you a short story about a friend of mine.

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Nail Biting Stories

Shortly after, I was mobilized to serve my country (NYSC) because that’s the culture over here. As Nigerians, we are made to serve our fatherland for a year. I met with a friend whom I share literally everything with, secrets, gossips, and whatnot.

Her name is Concepta, but we prefer calling her Cepta. Cepta has been of tremendous help to me. I must confess, she’s that kind of a friend with a heart of Gold.

There is a time we were at her house — myself and Patience. Patience is also a close pal to Cepta. We were together that evening. After spending time gossiping and laughing together, Patience and I decided to take our leave.

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As courtesy demands, she accompanied both of us to where we are likely going to see a bus that will convey us to our destination.

Somewhere along the line, patience, being a keen observer, drew my attention to what our friend, Cepta, was up to. All this while, while we were strolling, she was busy chewing her nails like no man’s business.

As if that was not enough, she even went after the skin surrounding her nails like a dog trying to take off lice from her skin.

READ ALSO: Long Nail Beds And Its Importance To Nail Growth

The Real Deal

What am I trying to say here?

Biting nails is something that a lot of persons do, and some have been doing so right from childhood. Consciously or unconsciously. To some, it has become part of them that they can’t go a day without taking a bite of their nails.

If they’re not biting their nails, they’re probably going after the skin around their nails. This has been the case with Cepta. How and why they’ve chosen to bite their nails is what we can’t tell, but research has proved that 50% do so due to boredom, anxiety, nervousness, fear, tiredness, etc.

what does nail biting mean, how to stop nail biting
Photo Credits: Slideshare.net

Now over to the real deal.

What does nail biting mean to you Or what is nail-biting?

What does nail biting mean, how to stop nail biting
Photo Credits: rebelcircus.com

For a broader understanding, lets quickly look at what other sources are saying about this. According to Dictionary.com, nail-biting is a sudden action that causes an individual to tear or chew his or her nails as a result of boredom.

Psychology today also describes nail-biting as a seemly temporary behavior of chewing nails, which does not cause much harm except for a few instances, which might lead to Onychophagia. (Onychophagia or onychophagy is a nail-biting medical term used extensively to describe the activities of chronic nail biters).

Are you Satisfied with those definitions, or we should break it down a little bit? OK, we got you.

READ ALSO: How To Grow Nails Fast In 1 Hour In 2019

But before we proceed, it is imperative for us to know what nails entails and its associated term, biting. With these, you’ll be able to understand the concept better.

What are Nails?

Nails like we already knew are scale-like materials found towards the end region of the finger and toes of primates. In other words, nails are a modernized form of claws.

What then are nails made off?

Nails are made up of alpha-keratin. Keratin is the hardened protein material that our hair and skin are made up of.

READ ALSO: Nails Anatomy, Everything You Should Know About Nails

Now that you know what nails are and the materials they are made of, lets quickly look at its associated term “Biting.” When we are talking of Biting, we should be looking at it from this perspective.

Which is?

As a small wounds on the skin caused either by insects or other related animals.

But in this context, we shall be looking at it from a different view which relates to humans. So biting, in humans, involves the systematic movement of our upper and lower jaws. Through this, eating is made possible.

READ ALSO: How To Get Long Nails In One Week In 2019

Having established this, when we say one is into nail-biting, it, therefore, means that that person is feeding on his or her nails with the help of the teeth.

How is this even possible? I mean, how can one feed on his or her nails?

I’ll explain

When one takes to biting his or her nails or the skin around her nails, such a person can be said to be feeding on nails.

Simply put, nail-biting is an involuntary action that triggers an individual to go after his or her fingernails due to nervousness or boredom.

Although there is no known statistical analysis as to when biting of nails came in vogue, research has proven that biting of nails is age-related.

It’s occurrence decreases as one attains adulthood. For example, children between the age of 3 – 9 years are likely to pick at their nails than adults between the ages range of 18 – 45. Still in confusion? Well, this Nail Biting Images could help.

READ ALSO: 35 Nail Care Materials Every Manicurist And Pedicurist Should Have

Nail Biting Images

Figure # 1: This is precisely how the typical human teeth look like.

What does nail biting mean, how to stop nail biting

Fig 2: The below photo tells us how a chronic nail biters hand looks like

how to stop nail biting

Figure 3: And here’s another picture for you. Can you tell me what’s happening here? Well, he or she can be seen biting off his fingers with the help of his teeth.

how to stop nail biting

Now that we know, nail-biting meaning, can we at least look at some of the significant causes of biting nails?

OK, good, let’s dive in.

Nail Biting Causes

As there is no ailment without a cause, so it is for Onychophagia (Nail Biting). Onychophagia is a serious issue affecting our society today, and it can be seen more on children than in adult.

Although there are lots of reports about Onychophagia been linked to genetic, further studies have shown that children who bite their nails occasionally might have inherited it from thumb sucking.

READ ALSO: 12 Natural Home Remedies For Nail Growth In 2019

Other causes might be as a result of restlessness. Nail biters frequently tend to bite their nails unknowing as an aftermath to stressful, restless, or mind troubling issues of life. When this habit becomes habitual, it soon replaces their usual routine without them knowing.

On the other hand, When one is anxious, he or she is likely going to pick at his or her nails since it is believed to ease stress. In fact, a report has it that 20 % of adults who bite their nails do so to relieve stress, tension, loneliness, boredom, or hungry.

Nail Biting Treatment

what does nail biting mean, how to stop nail biting
Photo Credits: healthambition.com

Nail-biting in children and adults, as we’ve earlier stated. It is an alarming issue that should be giving emphasis to.

Because if we fail to do so at the early stage, the disaster it is likely going to cause to our health will be unbearable.

Now that we are aware of the danger, how can we avert this? It’s pretty simple, and that means Treating them as early as possible.

Nail-biting treatment for toddlers, children, or adults is pretty the same. Although treatment may vary according to an individual, it is imperative to start with this Jump-starts.

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1. Identify what triggers you to bite your nails

The first step to putting a stop to this bad habit is to identify that which triggers you. Is it stress, boredom, or even loneliness that is making you pick at your nails? Getting to know that which triggers the urge to bite your nails at the slightest opportunity is a sure way of putting an end to nail-biting for good.

When triggers had been successfully identified, you either block them, or you substitute them with something worthwhile like chewing gum, getting busy with your hands, etc.

2. Wear nail paint always

Regular wearing of nail paint might not necessarily stop you from biting your nails now and then, but it will sure give you a second thought the next time you try to pick at your nails as no one would want to spend cash at the salon to have his or her nail did only to ruin them using their fingernails. Would you? I doubt.

3. Carry cuticle scissors everywhere you go

If you’re a chronic nail biter, carrying cuticle scissors or nail clippers around should be your thing.


Because the scissors or clipper will enable you to trim those hangnails instead of using your teeth. By so doing, you’re consciously replacing your old habit with a preferable one.

4. Be like Queen Elizabeth 11

What do we mean by being “like queen Elizabeth”? Well, we are merely telling you to wear gloves always. Although it may not stop you from biting your nails, it will surely act as an obstacle. I’m pretty sure of this hack because it has helped a lot of persons I’m opportune to teach on how to nail this habit.

5. Coat those nails

There are a whole lot of bad tasting polishes on the internet guaranteed to help you nail this habit for good. This anti nail bite polish has dual actions. First, they act as reminders, telling you that you are about to do something terrible, and if the urge surpasses this, the bitter taste will then help you to stop when it gets to your mouth.

So getting these polishes that taste bad when they come in close contact with our mouth can as well reduce the urge to chew nails. Here is an article I wrote on 7 Best products to stop nail-biting. It’s a must-read if you’ve been looking for an effective anti nail bite polish to buy.

PS: The above are just some of the essential tips to coup the habits. Under severe chronic nail-biting, approaches such as competitive action, a finger-at-a-time method, and a think-healthy method are also some practical ways to stop.

Competitive Actions.

What is a competitive action? Competitive action is a move geared towards putting a stop to an action.

How do competitive actions help one to stop nail biting?

It does help one to stop biting or chewing the skin surrounding the nails because it employs a kind of behavioural pattern that subjects the biter( a person that bite his or her nails) to some sort of competitive action whenever there’s an urge to bite nails.

In this method, one can adopt behavioural patterns that restrict the hand from getting anywhere close to the face or a model that does not permit the hand from entering the mouth when the urge to feed on those nails come knocking.

If this approach is followed religiously, this method could be the only remedy you need to stop those bad habits.

A finger-At-A-Time Approach

Here is another hack to nail these awful habits. If the competitive approach isn’t your thing.  You might consider this method – A finger at a time approach. In this approach, you set a tiny goal not to bite a single nail. You can start from your thumb.

Once you’re able to keep this up for like a week, you can then shift to the next finger and place the thumb finger in the “No biting zone.”

Do this for all of your fingers, and you’ll be shocked as to how this little goal has dramatically changed your way of life.

Think-Healthy Method

If you’ve given the last two approaches above a try and there is no significant improvement in your nail-biting addiction or your quest to stop nail biting as an adult has proven abortive, then this method is undoubtedly for you.

What is thinking healthy method in the first place? Think healthy process is a mindset practice that employs the use of one’s conscience to fight one’s self ( yourself)

How do I mean?

When you think of the number of places you’ve placed your hands during the day and the danger of putting those hands laced with germs in your mouth, such conscious thinking should be able to deter the urge.

Think of it this way, if you’re being diagnosed with Escherichia Coli (E. Coli belongs to the family Enterobacteriaceae) and your doctor probably tells you that it is because you’re ingesting germs in your mouth.

He says, if you do not put a stop to it, it might lead to severe gastrointestinal infections. I guess you’ll think twice the moment you want to stick your nails into your mouth?


By using your fear as a tool, you can undoubtedly fight that constant urge to bite nails. Isn’t that an amazing way to stop nail biting in adults for good? Well, we think it is.

Before we proceed further, let me throw this question in. Can this method be applied to kids?

Well, we don’t think so, but they’re ways we can bring this down to their level.

Shall we? OK good.

How To Stop Nail Biting In Children

Nail-biting in children is one of the numerous habits exhibited by almost all kids, and if care is not taken, they’ll grow to become chronic nail nippers.

In fact, the majority of adults involved in this are kids who probably couldn’t grow out of it. Although there is this belief that nail-biting is linked with intelligence, it is one habit that should be stopped.

Having said that, lets quickly look at some preventive measures parents or wards can adopt to stop this nasty habit.

1. Educate your child

Education is everything in life; without it, one might trend the wrong path. Educating your child or ward on the danger of biting nails and the aftermath is a sure way to stop this habit. Wondering how to pass this to them? Worry not. Here are PRO tips for you. You can come up with a story to scare them a bit.

For example, you can use that which they dread or fear the most to create a story that is likely going to end with a moral lesson. Each time they want to take a quick nip at their nails, they will think twice.

2. Keep children’s nails trimmed daily

Keeping your child’s nails well-trimmed all the time can help reduce the urge to bite nails. More also, hangnails should be clipped as well.

3. Keep their hands busy

It is true that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, so it is with our children’s nails. You can keep your kids busy, doing something worthwhile with their time like giving them stress ball to play with, teaching them how to play an instrument, or probably playing games with them.

4. The reward system

Here are other expert ways to stop your kids from biting their nails. Offer your child a reward. Tell him or her the rule of the game and that he or she stands to get a surprise package from you only when he or she refrains from nail-biting.

The gift could be anything, it could be his favourite meal or snack, comic novels, movies or a trip to his or her favourite places (city). Just be sure to keep to whatsoever you promise so that they won’t feel disappointed and plan to quit.

5. Bitter tasting nail polish

There are lots of stores online that sell quality anti-nail-biting products. You can buy one from Amazon and apply it on their nails directly.

The bitter taste will not only repel them from biting their nails, but it will also kill the urge to eat nails overtime.

Remember, understanding why they bite their nails will give you a clue as to what step to take to put a stop to the habit.

Furthermore, if you’ve tried all that we’ve said as far, nail-biting is a concern, and nothing seems to be working for you; all you need is Prayer.

Because it might shock you to know that your nail-biting addiction might not be physical, it can be spiritual.

More also, The devil, on the other hand, might just be capitalizing on this just to disgrace you and rob you of your freedom.

Through prayers, a lot of persons have overcome the most addictive situations of life. In fact, the power that accompanies prayer can not be overemphasized.

How about if we leave you with some cool prayers that will help you to stop nail biting?

Wouldn’t that be nice? Well, here you go.

Prayer to stop nail biting

Dear Lord, thank you for today. Thank you for saving my life. Thank you for creating me in your image and likeness.

Lord, I know the thought you have for me is that of good and not of evil, I also know that you’ve created all things great and beautiful

Therefore, this nail addiction of mine, I commit it to you for there is no addiction whatsoever you cannot solve.

Teach me ways to overcome this challenge so that I won’t be a laughing stock among my peers.

This I pray through Jesus Christ, our Lord Amen.

Wrapping Up On What Does Nail Biting Mean

Learning how to stop biting nails for good is really not a small task; it comes with dedication and the self-will to stop.

More tasking when it has to do with kids. Often times, the best way to stop something is never to start at all.

But since we can’t always control how certain things come to stay in our lives, we can always adopt a way to avoid them.

For nail biters, getting to know what triggers you is the first step to take coupled with other steps outlined above.

Now that you know what nail-biting mean and how to avoid biting your nails, we wish you nothing but success in your nail-biting endeavours.

6 Replies to “What Does Nail Biting Mean And How To Stop (3 Killer Ways)”

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