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Although unsanitary, chronic nail biting (onychophagia) isn't likely to cause long-term nail damage.
Nails are formed within the nail bed — just beneath where the U-shaped cuticles begin. As long as the nail bed remains intact, nail biting isn't likely to interfere with fingernail growth. In fact, some research suggests that nail biting might even promote faster nail growth.
Nail biting isn't without risks, however. For example, nail biting can:
If you're concerned about nail biting, consult your doctor or a mental health provider. To stop nail biting, he or she might suggest:
In some cases, treatment with behavior therapy might be needed.
Last Updated Jul 15, 2017