Do you have the habit of going nibble, nibble, nibble all day long on your nails? You know you have to stop but that tiny uneven edge keeps bothering you, until you give in and just have to give it that toothy manicure it deserves? Nail biting is one of the worst habits one could develop as it can lead to infections by transferring tiny bacteria from the mouth into cuts on the skin near the nails. Today we will study simple nail biting deterrent remedies that are effective for toddlers and grownups alike.
1. Avoid boredom
Nail biting generally arises out of boredom or a way of fending off stress. Distract yourself (or the child) by investing in some squeeze toys or using a ball pen with a click mechanism to keep the hands busy. Children may be given coloring materials to calm their mind.
2. Chew sugar free gum
This is a great nail biting solution for grownups. There is no way you can bite your nails while you are chewing gum.
3. Keep a clipper/nail file nearby
Each time you feel tempted to bite your nails, use the clipper or the nail file. Also do this every time you snag your nail on your clothing-use the file instead of your teeth to file away the rough edges of the broken nail.
4. Douse the nails in oil
This is an easy nail biting solution. You can use any oil for this remedy, though olive oil works best. Douse your nails in oil-let the nails and skin really soak in the warm oil for 15 minutes or longer. Olive oil moisturizes nails and the less brittle they are, the tempted you would be to chew them.
5. Avoid paying attention to your child’s nail biting
Children sometimes indulge in nail biting when they want their parents’ attention. Avoid giving them this undue attention and keep yourself from commenting on it.
6. Put a bitter substance on the nails
Many pediatricians recommend this method for putting a stop to nail biting in children. Use any bitter substance such as turmeric paste, brewed dandelion tea or nettle. If you have access to bitter gourd juice, that works too. These are effective nail biting remedies for toddlers.
7. White vinegar
To put a stop to nail biting in men (or women), paint the nails with white vinegar using a Q tip. Vinegar has a sharp, acrid taste which will bring your attention to the fact that you are not supposed to bite your nails.
8. Tabasco pepper sauce
This is another ‘homemade nail biting polish’ that you can use for preventing this habit in men and women. Using a Q tip, apply the sauce on the nails. Let it dry. If your fingernails accidentally find themselves near your mouth, the tangy smell and flavor will remind you not to.
9. Commercial nail biting solutions
Many commercial nail biting deterrent solutions are available in the market. THUM is effective for stopping biting nails as well as thumb chewing in toddlers. Mavala Stop is another popular remedy for both these habits. Both medicines contain bitter, yet completely harmless substances that are safe for toddlers above age of 4 years. Dentists and pediatricians alike are known to recommend these nail biting solutions for kids and men alike.
10. Use gloves or adhesive bandages
Parents must educate their children about the harms of biting nails and discourage their child by making them wear gloves or bandages.
11. Homeopathic remedies for nail biting
There many safe and gentle homeopathic remedies for toddlers and men or women with a habit of biting their nails. Arum triphyllum, Arsenicum Album, Veratrum album and Cina Maritima are some popular homeopathic remedies for nail biting. Your doctor will take detailed medical history before prescribing these in the right potency and dosage.
12. Parents keep a record of how many times a child bites the nails
Continuous nail biting could be a sign of severe anxiety or poor self image. Parents need to keep a track of how often the child sucks thumb or bites her/his nails. If needed, professional counseling may be sought to address the issue.
Nail biting in toddlers is a nervous habit which may also include other habits like tooth grinding or picking at the skin etc. It affects nearly half of the school going children. While it is a common disorder, it can become harmful if it affects the child’s daily functioning or his/her social relationships. It can cause the fingertips to become red and swollen and could even increase risk of infections of the nail bed. We hope the above nail biting remedies help you sort the problem.