Can you learn to stop nibbling your nails?


Believe it or not, you can nail your nibbling habit — and the sooner, the better. Experts have linked nail-biting to bruxism, or the grinding or clenching of teeth. Bruxism can cause jaw problems, facial pain, and extremely sensitive teeth.

Here are a few key ways to break the habit. You also can try these techniques with youngsters. Just remember to praise them for their efforts.

  • Trim rough, ragged nails and file them smooth. Broken nails can be very tempting to nibble.

  • Apply a bitter-tasting polish or liquid to nails.

  • Learn to do something else when you feel the urge to chew. For example, make fists for a minute or so. But be careful not to swap one bad habit for another. Chewing on a pencil can lead to mouth injury, too!



“Nail-Biting Can Lead to Bruxism.” Academy of General Dentistry, January 2012. Accessed 2013.

“Your Child’s Habits.”, Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, August 2011. Accessed 2013.

“Your Nails.” KidsHealth, June 2010. Accessed 2013.

“Caring for Nail Infections.” Academy of Dermatology. Accessed 2013.