There are all kinds of deeply wretched germs crawling under your fingernails.
Fingertips are hives of nastiness, and are home to various types of bacteria, fungus, and YEAST (eww). One particularly prevalent germ found under nails is Staphlococcus aureus, which can cause a load of crazy skin infections like boils and abscesses. Mmmm, oral boils.
When you suck and chew on your fingernails, they become an even greater bacterial paradise.
Back in 2007, Turkish scientists tested 59 people to see whether nail biting had any real effect on transporting bacteria to the mouth. They swabbed each person’s mouth for saliva to check for diarrhoea and vomiting bacteria such as Escherichia coli and many other nasties starting with E. And guess what? Seventy-six per cent of those who bit their nails tested positive, compared to just 26.5% of non-biters. So if you don’t want to spend half your life shitting for Britain, you might want to take your fingers out of your mouth, now.
If you bite your nails, chances are that you’re already causing dental damage.
Who knew that a little innocent nibble could cause such havoc on the old gnashers? In real hardcore cases, nail biting has resulted in tooth fractures, tooth loss, and crazy, displaced jaws.
You’re more likely to grind your molars into dust at night.
Nail biting can be a nervous reaction, so the likelihood is that if you’re chewing up your fingers on the reg, you’re also susceptible to grinding your teeth at night. “Those who bite their teeth are often stressed”, said Dr Adam Roberts, senior lecturer at UCL’s department of microbial diseases, “so may have other factors that affect their teeth such as grinding.”
If you already have weak teeth, continually tearing off bits of nail with your front teeth could lead to dental chipping. And if you can’t see from this delightful picture, grinding can also LEAD TO TEETH FALLING OUT.
Brace-wearing biters run the risk of causing unprecedented damage to their chompers.
Dr Ansa Akram, a clinical lecturer in orthodontics at the University of Bristol, told BuzzFeed that nail-chewing brace wearers are treading particularly risky water. Not only does the habit put the brace at risk from breaking, but it can also cause or increase root resorption in teeth undergoing orthodontic treatment, which IRL means that your body’s own cells start to EAT AWAY AT THEMSELVES and dissolve tooth structure.