Talk:Nail biting/Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


Shouldn't this be called "nail-biting"? STGM 09:11, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

If that's more grammatically accurate, it's easy enough to do. --Icarus 05:28, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
No, it shouldn't be hyphenated. Would you hyphenate "trout fishing" or "book reading?" "Nail" is just an adjective modifying a gerund. JRNorbergé 06:02, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

tooth decay?

I am removing this statement, "A long-time habit of nailbiting may have detrimental effects on the substantia adamantinea of the front teeth, promoting caries in these areas.", mainly because there is no citation for this common wife's tale. Also because I am a life long nail bitter and continually hear how amazingly healthy my teeth are from differing dentists. I have looked at yahoo health and the a Mayo Clinic site about the topic, and neither mention this. Now my position is not strong, however, I think the statement should be removed until another editor can make a decent argument for its inclusion.Dkriegls 07:30, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

My experience is exactly the same and I concur.

I'm a 54 yr old female lifelong nail biter, sellotape end finder and package ripper. Recently, my front tooth sarted 'drifting' and now I have an unsightly gap.

My dentist says root dacay is the caause, but cannot treat me.

suggestions??? javascript:insertTags('Carnvean (talk) 18:00, 8 February 2009 (UTC)',,) Carnvean (talk) 18:00, 8 February 2009 (UTC)[1]


I think nail biting is addictive. I mean, once I start, I can't stop. Maybe they have trace amounts of nicotine...*laughs*. The Republican 03:29, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, I definitely think nail biting is addictive, maybe it's just me but I must have in insanely large case of chronic onychophagia :( I've actually been biting the SKIN off of my fingers... Solutions solutions solutions :( - Blackguard 02:01, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

I truly agree that nail biting is addictive and anyone who does not understand the difficulties in stopping the habit should not pass judgement.

Hm, me too with the skin thing...The Republican 02:20, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
I think it's addictive. I find myself biting my nails a lot, and I catch myself to avoid biting the nails down so far that they bleed or, as it is at this very moment, cause a throbbing pain. I bite skin, etc. Goofyman 03:16, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

That's me too I'm 14 when i was younger i bite the skin around my nails.PrincessD

Can anyone provide a citation for the statement that nail biting can be a sign of anger towards parents? Frankly, I think that is a totally illogical claim, but I've heard stranger. And by the way, I bite my nails compulsively, as in bleeding/half-moon/band-aids compulsive. Is that considered an addiction, or just a habit? Is there a difference? Keramac

Without a doubt nailbiting is addictive. I have been biting my fingers or as my wife calls it chewing my fingers for as long as I can remember. It started out with just the nails, and now it has progressed to the skin around the nails and sometimes the skin down the finger to the first knuckle. I even occasionally when I run out of things to chew or my fingers hurt to much I look to the side of my index finger on both hands for relief. I know that sounds sick, but I just don't know how to stop. I have tried everything.

Even tonight I chewed my pinky finger to the point it was bleeding and so red you can barely see the tip of the finger. This has got to stop. (j - Tampa, FL)

Although I will say I'm often very bored, that is definently NOT the reason I bite my nails. I bite them because I enjoy the feeling of biting it; its strange, isn't it? Well...sometimes I do START biting because I'm bored, but continue for the feeling. Nikandros 00:01, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, I bite my nails in the shower sometimes even though I stopped a few years ago from willpower. It's hard to stop! (talk) 02:22, 12 June 2008 (UTC)


It does not break the taboo of cannibalism against eating parts of the human body, as the nails are not usually consumed.

I've never seen a nailbiter who spits out their nails after they bite them, and I definetly don't when I bite mine. Maybe I'm generalizing, but I think if it doesn't break canabilism it's because it's not a vital or large part of a human, id est, not an arm or leg. If you consider nail biting cannabilism whats to stop you from saying people who kiss aren't in some way eating each other alive?

Ditto on that-- I chew them into tiny bits and swallow them without realising it72.38.179.35 01:43, 23 April 2006 (UTC).

I know people that bite and spit. I'm bite and chew, myself. Anon, 27 April 2006.

I bite then play around with them in my mouth but rarely (usually only unintentionally) do I swallow them. Sometimes I leave them in piles so I can pick them back up later. Anon; May 01, 2006

Ew. I definitely don't swallow them, too hard (like eating...nails! ha!)

im a compulsive nailbiter, i bite til they bleed and i tear off the skin around my nails, and they are disgusting to look at. but i never swallow the nails! im gonna talk to my doctor about these medication ideas. i never knew you could take meds to quit nailbiting. i would've done it along time ago, its my worst habit. i find it disgusting, yet i cant quit. i am aggressive about washing my hands ALL THE TIME so that the nails are clean (in my mind) when i bite. 15:34, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

After reading this article i got the sudden urge to bite my nails. Though Nail biting for me is not as bad as Nose picking, just too bad they dont have patches for nail biters :P
You guys swallow them? Ew... I never really have the entire nail in my mouth anyway though. I slowly bite it until it's barely hanging on, then rip off the last little piece with the other hand. (talk) 05:16, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Unsightly and Disgusting

Does anyone else object to these non-NPOV words? As a nailbiter, I take personal offense to them. It would be just as incorrect to say that the symptoms of leprosy are unsightly and disgusting because neither I nor a person suffering from leprosy can rightly be at fault for our "unsightly and disgusting" ways. I'm going to remove that sentence completely, if anyone objects, let us discuss it.--Lwieise -=- Talk to Me 07:56, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree...I had the same bad feeling reading the article. I bite my nails as well, but aside from the rare accident I think I take a lot of care with my appearance--I won't bite them down past a certain point (i.e. I don't go past the white part into the clear area), and I even try to make sure the nails are reasonably even with each other. Plus...I can see where nailbiting is a genuine problem for some people, but I don't take kindly to being classified as having some kind of disorder when I am not uncontrolled or dangerous about it. I mean, if I'm patient enough to be able to let them grow out to a certain point, even if it takes a few days of none being "biteable", I'm NOT a wild, compulsive nut job. And frankly in my case, I just don't think it's a big deal and I can't be bothered to quit. --Anonymous

I agree too, I have a problem with the line "Extreme nailbiting can be considered to be a form of masochistic self-mutilation" which is absurd.

Jesus, people nowdays can take offence at pretty much anything. Yeah let's rationalize our misbehavior and everybody feel sorry for my sorry arse. As a fellow nail-biter I think all of you above in this section need to grow up and grow some thicker skin. It IS both disguisting and unsightly and masochistic selfmutilation as it is the pain that most of us actually enjoy and not the taste of the nails -- they're tasteless hard and unchewable, I usually use them to pick teeth and hurt my gums for more masochistic pleasure but I've developed mild paradontosis as a result and now I have a terrible breath as a result but at least I treat that with special toothpastes. Skin around them is tasty and salty and meat-like so maybe the hints at canibalism are correct too. Acknowledging that your weakness is as ill and aa stupid as other self-inflicted illnesses resulting from character weakness (like obesity) and at least you're fair to yourself and others. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:53, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Nail biting VS

I've never seen a person bite their nails during stress; however, I do notice a lot of people (including me) who bite the dead skin along the sides of their nails (the chewy tissue) and not the nail itself. There is a term for this tissue; but I don't know what it's called... I often only see nail biting in the movies, whereas, I have seen a lot more people bite this tissue instead of the nails in real life.I don't think they should be considered the same thing.

That term is "hangnail." DrVeghead 08:47, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

one of the citations needed could be, but deeper research wouldn´t hurt, is Terry M. McClanahan, author of "Operant Learning Principles Applied to Nail Biting" a 1995 study published in Psychological Reports i dont have access to the book, so this is as much as i can do

Haha....what a hypocrite!

"Why did you even put up a message on this disscussion board because you obviously have no idea as to what everyone here is talking about. Evenly 'trimming' your nails with your teeth does not make you a nail biter, it makes you lazy, nail biteing is more than an "I can't be bothered walking to get the nail trimmers" kind of attitude".

Clearly *you* are generalizing the disorder into something of a self-loathing, guilt-heavy personal issue. Not everyone who bites their nails is, as you so put it, "lazy".

Its akin to me making a generalization that since you are singular in your viewpoints and that you believe opinions to have a factual basis other than individual perspective that you are clearly stupid. It doesn't add up based on evidence, does it?

wikipedia talk pages are NOT discussion boards, and please sign your posts. 15:36, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

I've removed this from the article...

...mainly because isn't written to the same standard as the rest of the article. Before being returned I suggest it needs copy-editing and verifying.

The best method of stopping nail biting has shown to be friends of the nail biter, at every oppurtunity, to tell them how ugly nail biting makes them. It may seem cruel, but in the end, it's the best thing a friend or family member can do. A nail biter would rather hear the truth from a friend/family member than a complete stranger.

--Smalljim 23:08, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

That isn't at all salvageable. Nice delete. JRNorbergé 05:55, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Numbers seem to high

44% seems way too high and we don't know if someone made it up. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:53, 9 May 2007 (UTC).

Biting toenails?

The article defines nail biting as the habit of biting one's fingernails or toenails; I am personally quite hard pressed to be able to merely reach my toenails with my mouth. Is it really possible to suffer from compulsive toenail biting? The external links seem to assume that fingernail biting is the "norm". — Peter L <talk|contribs> 15:22, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

I bite my fingernails, although contrary to pretty much this entire article it's not due to stress or some emotional hangup. I do it because long nails are annoying and I find clipping my nails actually more destructive and painful than biting them (rarely do I bleed from biting, but fingernail clippers usually do lead to bleeding). When I was younger I used to bite my toenails the same way I do my fingernails, because long nails would poke holes in my socks. With a small bit of flexibility it's not hard to do, and I remember a scene in Little House on the Prairie where Laura Ingalls was biting her toenails. I stopped biting my toenails when I started to develop ingrown toenails on my big toes, and found that clipping my toenails straight across prevented it. (I find toenails easy to cut due to their thickness, but still can't clip my fingernails safely, and I'd never waste money paying someone else to do it, plus it doesn't seem a "guy" thing to do). -Atamasama 21:16, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply :-) — Peter L <talk|contribs> 22:30, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Maybe you are trying to cut your nails too short. I've never made myself bleed while clipping my nails, but I always leave a little white. Or more likely the clippers are the problem. I have larger clippers for my toes and a smaller for my fingers since the oversized toe ones tend to rip up my finger nails. Anyways, my two cents if you'd rather not bite them. — Laura Scudder 21:54, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
I hope I'll be pardonned for the tangent I'm about to wander off on...
Atamasama brought up the point I wanted to make. The article focusses on nailbiting done due to stress/"emotional hangup" (Atamasama)... reading that made me arch a brow, wondering how that could possibly apply to me. I pretty much have the same reasons Atamasama has for biting my nails... I find nothing more uncomfortable than clipping or cutting my nails, since it puts this ridiculously odd strain on the surrounding skin that really irks me. So I bite them instead. Are we some sort of freak minority (I say that with love, of course), or is this simply not highlighted in the article? -pinkgothic 21:32, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Actually I came here after reading I am biting (which involves some ripping) my fingernails and toenails for all my life. I do not suffer from any negative consequences either from my environment or myself, as I also do this simply instead of using a clipper (which I find equally uncomfortable), and never due to stress or boredom. And I know I am not alone in this here. I also wonder what people did before clippers were invented (did walking and working really shorten the nails enough to need no extra care?). Maybe some aspect of this could be worked into the article. Oh, and indeed, I sometimes crunch on the nails I have bitten off out of boredom and no garbage can is in my vicinity, but usually I just throw them away (into said can of course). Also, bitings ones toenails isn't too hard. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:13, August 30, 2007 (UTC)

This entire article was copied verbatim

Prior to my recent edits, this entire article was taken seemingly from a single source: Is there a policy against this? It was obviously plagiarism since it wasn't sourced, however, I'm not really sure what to do now. I put the source in the treatment section, because that's the only area that is still heavily affected, but even the section headers were taken from the article, and I don't even thing that article was peer reviewed. That's a bit problematic. I think it's safe to take down the sources tag now though, since I added things from other sources, and sources for other things, sans the article where the bulk of ever thing was taken from.JRNorbergé 07:00, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Well, actually, looking at the history, it seems it happened over a period of time, so it might not even have been intentional. Still though, the latter half of the article is from this source.JRNorbergé 07:05, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Britney Spears

She is a nail biter? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:26, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Not sure why that really matters.. Which magizine tabloid did you get tht from? on a side note the picture with a hand of nail biter doesnt seem that extreme to me, I know someone who knows someone who would of clean those fingers of nails entirely —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:33, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

famous nail biters

I added a section on verified famous nail biters just now. It was, however, quickly removed for reasons of "trivia". I don't understand. Other pages which deal with cases of human physical and mental conditions routinely list those who suffered them. I am going to have another go at editing a section soon. I will keep the list short and I would appreciate feedback. Anothersixpence (talk) 12:12, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

It was me the one removing it. I believe trivia section should be avoided. Secondly if you really want to add that info please only add those famous people with references, writting the references in the same format as other websites in the article. I will remove any unreferenced statement on famous people. Finally I may doubt on the usefulness of "famous people", but the lord of the rings fact is simply trivia and has no sense in this article.--Garrondo (talk) 15:19, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Hi, I reviewed what you said and read the medical style guide. You are quite correct. The guidelines allow cultural references, but not trivia. I have learned something, so thanks for that. I will rethink the paragraph. I think it matters because the page surely gets traffic from non-medicals - especially anxious young people feeling more anxious about their own nail-biting habit. A well-couched mention of two or three people who, despite continuing their habit into adult life, are high achievers might add useful perspective. Thanks again for guidance. Anothersixpence (talk) 17:38, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

extreme biting vs. everyday biting

There should be a distinction made here. I bite my nails, but only if a bit comes loose, and never past the white bit, unlike the gross image on this page. I don't know if any actual sources agree with me, but my theory is that humans are "programmed" to bite off excess nail from prehistoric times when we didn't have clippers. As such there is nothing wrong with it it's just some weird cultural modern thing that makes us think it's bad. The only problem with this instinct is when it goes into overdrive and you bite off bits that are still stuck to the skin like in the image. However these are *minority* cases and by no means make up the majority of nail biting behaviour in humans! -- (talk) 20:47, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

I like your argument, but I think the artikle is about the "minority" cases. The cosmetic or usefull manipulation of fingernails is a different story. --Die bibi (talk) 23:02, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

History of nailbiting

I'm interested in how people in general dealt with nail growth before nail clippers. If the figures in this article are accurate I assume this behavior is at least partly instinctual to keep nails in check. Presumably the slower growth of toenails was counteracted by walking barefoot, but who knows? Personally I could stick my toes in my mouth if I really wanted to, but I don't bite my nails anyway, and after a certain age the thought of sucking my toes began to revolt me. Anyway, is there any research here? What do chimps do, are their nails similar to humans'? -- Kevin Saff (talk) 01:28, 14 March 2009 (UTC)


The article is pretty short so why do we need two pictures illustrating "a compulsive nail-biter" and "an extreme nail-biter"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:00, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Agree: One of the two images has been recently added but adds nothing. I am going to eliminate it. Thanks for pointing it out. Bests.--Garrondo (talk) 08:42, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

consistent nail biter

i am a nail biter i know it's bad for your health but i can't stop. ( i even think i bite my nails in my sleep) but i know you can get bitter nail polish you put on your nails to make it taste bad. i just can't find ours. any good luck to all nail biters who r trying to stop>

I have been biting my nails since I was two years old and the only thing I have found to help me stop is if I get artificial nails. my habit is so bad that now my child has started her own habit of biting her nails.

my girl friend bites her nails and i would say she has emotional disorder —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:43, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Nail pulling

Is there a term for "nail pulling"? I know there's Trichotillomania for the disorder/habit of pulling hair but not nails.--DrWho42 (talk) 04:06, 4 June 2010 (UTC)


This entire article is perfectly ridiculous, there's absolutely nothing wrong with ordinary nail biting, its a natural and instinctual behaviour, no different that eating drinking or sex. humans have lived 99 percent of our history without advanced metal tools such as nail clippers. Can you imagine stone age tribespeople sitting down with a flake of flint or obsidian to trim their nails, It would seem terribly awkward and possibly dangerous, not to mention a major pain in the arse. Which is not to say that there are indeed cases of nail biting becoming a self-destructive habit. If sufferers had bleeding fingers or infected skin than clearly this would be the case, However aside from these exceptions, the claim that nail biting is somehow a disorder is merely an example of modern people applying their own cultural biases or phobias- if examined in light of the historical evidence, it is a claim that is found to be patently absurd. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:21, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

Er not it's not natural instinctive behavior (you're probably talking about habits). Nail biting is a (compulsive) habit for many people. That in itself is a psychological aspect. But many times, nail biting can reveal an underlying anxiety disorder or compulsive problem. If it is a (chronic) habit, then there is a problem. You don't sit around biting nails every hour right? If you do, then you may have underlying anxiety disorder, impulse control difficulties, etc. Most people don't normally bite their nails, and if they do, many times it is a compulsive habit. - M0rphzone (talk) 05:17, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Agreed! I've always had a pet theory that nailbiting is a behaviour evolved in human ancestors as a form of hygiene. Nails, the vestigial remains of claws, are a common environment for dirt and parasites, so the easiest way to keep them from causing trouble for an organism which already has them was to develop a habit of biting them off. That being said, I have absolutely no evidence to support that because the evolutionary science departments are being funded and controlled by people supporting the whole "nailbiting is a disorder" conspiracy. Horrible days we live in. (talk) 18:29, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Well this is original research, so you'll have to find some sources first. But commenting on your theory, if humans bit their nails to clean them, that would be counter-intuitive since they could be ingesting large amounts of bacteria, dirt, etc. (and remember, this is before easily accessible water faucets for hand-washing, hand sanitizers, nail clippers, or any sort of scissors/manicure sets). - M0rphzone (talk) 05:17, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I hope that you have noticed that at no point it is called disorder or disease, but compulsive habit. In addition you may have noticed that as opposed to many articles this one is fully referenced to high quality articles. If you have any reference on the nail biting habit in past times it will most welcome. Best regards.--Garrondo (talk) 06:39, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Many people bite their nails and most of them don't do it to the point of bleeding or damaging the fingernails themselves, but merely to keep them short. I've bitten my nails for many years and they aren't deformed or bleeding, they look normal. I know other people who are similar. I can understand the natural behaviour idea, long nails aren't benefical to humans and often quite brittle so it would make sense to keep them short. I agree that some people do suffer from excessive biting of the nails to the point of damanging them, but for the larger population it's not the case. That being said, this is merely my POV and I'm no leading expert. Sigh.. (talk) 12:17, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

I think nail biting helps to strength the immune system. Also, this article reeks of POV -- nail-biting is perfectly acceptable. (talk) 14:32, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

No it doesn't. Just another myth that people seem to think up. - M0rphzone (talk) 04:59, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

If a person bites his/her nails too often, it can indicate a possible anxiety disorder or mental disorder, and may be a coping mechanism. This can also be a habit, which is another psychological behavior. This psychological/medical aspect should probably be addressed. - M0rphzone (talk) 04:59, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

As a former nail-biter, I don't think people should treat nail-biting as if it were an okay thing to do. Many times I would bite my nails until they bled. I also have trichotillomania, so this may be part of the issue, but my trich only started after the nail biting did. Each habit builds upon another, and situations, or the amount you bite your nails may increase. Nail biting, especially for small children can be harmful, their bitten-off nails could become lodged in their throats. If they put pressure on their teeth when they bite their nails, their teeth may move and shift over time because of this semi-constant pressure. Nail biting is a habit that can be formed subconsciously, by watching a parent, sibling, friend, etc bite their nails. BluJay (talk) 01:31, 16 August 2015 (UTC) BluJay (talk) 01:31, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ ≥—