Although fingernail biting is usually harmless and unlikely to result in long-term damage to the nail bed, it may occasionally cause problems such as skin damage surrounding the fingernail and the transmission of germs to the mouth, reports Mayo Clinic. Additionally, fingernail biting can lead to dental issues.
In addition to increasing the risk of infection of the damaged skin, fingernail biting facilitates the spread of pathogenic viruses or bacteria from the fingers to the mouth, explains Mayo Clinic. Additionally, bitten fingernails can bleed and become sore, red and infected, states WebMD. Dental problems such as weak and misaligned teeth are a potential result of regular fingernail biting. A person may also experience feelings of anxiety and embarrassment due to the appearance of his bitten fingernails.
Fingernail biting may only happen occasionally, or it can become a chronic and serious problem, reports WebMD. This habit typically begins before adulthood and is often a result of being bored or stressed. Fingernail biting may also be caused by feelings of loneliness or frustration. A person with a psychological condition such as obsessive compulsive disorder may bite his nails, and nail biting often occurs in conjunction with other disorders such as separation anxiety disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Some research also suggests that fingernail biting may have a genetic influence.