Stopping Nail Biting in Children

Nail biting in children25% of the children between the ages of 2 and 6 years bite nails. The term nail biting describes the act of biting the finger nails. Often children also chew the nails, pick them or even start biting the cuticles. Studies have revealed the primary reason behind this habit is pressure. Children try to solve the pressures faced by them through nail biting. This pressure might be caused by anything; common examples include nervousness in school or feeling jealous of friends or siblings. Extreme violence on television, abusive nature of parents can also act as stressors. Relieving the anxiety of the child might help in stopping him from biting nails.

As a parent, you must try to stop the nail biting habit of your child; the faster you succeed in doing that the better. This is because repeated nail biting might cause scarring of the nail and can also leave the nails open to infections. There are also evidences supporting the fact that regular nail biting shortens the tooth roots of a child; this happens due to constant pressure exerted on the surface of the nail.

Behavioral therapy helps in stopping nail biting most effectively. Through behavioral therapy, the child is introduced to other ways of managing his anxiety and stress. Statistics show that 40% children undergoing habit reversal therapy successfully get rid of the nail biting habit.

Decorated nailsChanging the nail pattern is another way of helping the child to stay away from biting his nails. You can make him wear gloves, cover his nails with bandages and can also decorate the nails using stickers. If you have a girl, creating awareness about the beauty of the nail becomes a bit easier as you have more options of decorating nails. Decorate her nails using colorful dots; you can also take her to a nail art parlor. If your child is too young, put some bitter tasting substance on his nails so that whenever he puts his hand into the mouth he will taste the bitter thing. This trick works in majority of the cases.

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