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dingus108's avatar

What's the best method for me to quit biting me fingernails?

Asked by dingus108 (228points) September 3rd, 2008 from iPhone

I hate having useless fingernails, and I’ve tried will power and that simply doesn’t work for me. I always forget that I’m trying not to bite them, but I do anyways.

If you’ve had this problem, what was the best method that helped you overcome this irritating habit?

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22 Answers

RandomMrdan's avatar

I bite my nails a lot too…I remember back in junior high I tried putting a rubber band around my wrist…and every time I would go to bite my nails, or think about biting my nails…I would pull the rubber band really tight and let it snap on my wrist. To kind of help associate a snap with wanting to bite my nails.

I think it worked back in the day, but kind of forgot all about trying not to bite my nails.

brb, I need to go find a rubber band =)

JackAdams's avatar

This is gonna probably read like a smart-aleck answer, but I assure you, that it is not, because I have successfully quit that habit, and my life is much better now.

I had the two front lower teeth (anteriors) removed from my mouth. They’ll be replaced later on, but not until I have gone a few years without biting my fingernails, so I am finally free of the habit, once and for all time.

Now, I did not go into a dentist’s office and say, “Please yank these two teeth, so I can stop chewing my fingernails.”

What happened was that they needed to come out anyway, due to bad alignment and other problems, and I coincidentally discovered that, without them, I was unable to chew my fingernails, because those teeth were the ones I used, to do that.

So, when my dentist told me that we needed to replace the pulled teeth, I said, “Not right now, Perhaps 5 years down the road.”

So, I have two missing lower teeth, which no one notices, because when I smile, only my upper teeth are displayed.

And, I have not chewed my fingernails since, and my nails now look long and healthy.

September 4, 2008, 1:55 AM EDT

dingus108's avatar

wow, I in no way took that for a smart alec response! That was good. I, unfortunately do not want to go to that extreme, but if I were in your shoes, I would have also chosen the same route as yourself.

If there are any easier remedies out there that are somewhat simple like random’s, please let me hear ‘em! :)

JackAdams's avatar

There are chemical or food substances that you can coat on your fingernails, that make them so rancid-tasting, that you can’t stand to have them in your mouth.

A doctor can recommend them to you. I believe there are some “bitter apple” products used for animals, that are also safe and effective on humans.

Good luck!

September 4, 2008, 2:12 AM EDT

AstroChuck's avatar

Biting me fingernails?
Are we from Liverpool?

JackAdams's avatar

Northern Ireland.

September 4, 2008, 2:26 AM EDT

jcs007's avatar

You know the dirt that gets underneath your fingernails? Well, when I was little, my mom told me that the dirt will make me sick. And that tapeworms would develop in my intestines. And make me eat more.

Low and behold, after years of pondering this fact(?), I am now afraid of tapeworms and disease from my fingernails. Which is why I cut them short.

JackAdams's avatar

My Mom used to say to me, “Now, drink ALL of your milk, before it gets cold!”

I’d gulp it all down, not realizing that I would WANT it to get colder.

September 4, 2008, 7:50 AM EDT

marinelife's avatar

This guy says he stops it by disconnecting the habit from the anti-anxiety urge. I have no idea it it works, but he has a lot of testimonials.

robmandu's avatar

Fluther discussed breaking bad habits before… and there were some good suggestions that I think would apply here (like mine ;-).

dingus108's avatar

I said “me fingernails” on accident… Typos all the time on the iPhone… :-/

robmandu's avatar

Oh. I thought you were a pirate. Or Irish. Maybe an Irish pirate?

JackAdams's avatar

Or a Pontius pirate?

September 4, 2008, 1:25 PM EDT

marissa's avatar

I tried the stuff that makes your fingernails taste terrible, I just bit them worse, because I wanted to get the disgusting stuff off my nails (okay, I’m weird, I can admit that). What worked for me was carrying a pair of nail clippers around with me and when I was starting to bite my nails, I’d just clip them instead. This accomplished two things, first, my nails were short and it was healthier than biting them, second, it got me out of the habit of biting them. After I got out of the habit of biting them, I quit clipping them as much, but I still keep nail clippers handy, and if I have a hang nail or something, I clip it, instead of biting it.

Skyrail's avatar

You see, I bite my nails. But I don’t bite them to be uselessly short to a point where it hurts or anything. I rarely have to cut my nails, but they keep the right length, useful, but not really long and overgrown. I know it’s a bad habit and unhygienic but it works. As for helping you sort your problem out, the disgusting thing works, my brother had a little pot of stuff (with a sponge in it) in which he would put his thumb in it in order to stop sucking his thumb. It’s a similar concept. :)

JackAdams's avatar

You know, I just remembered that it isn’t a bad idea, to regularly patronize a professional manicurist, even though it is usually women who do that.

But I knew this young woman who really took terrific care of my fingernails, and one time, I even had her do a pedicure on me, and my toes really felt wonderful, once they were cut, filed and shaped.

We had a kind of “falling out,” for want of a better phrase, after she almost doubled her prices for a manicure.

I remember telling her, in front of her other customers, that “Twenty dollars is just too much money, for a hand job.”

September 5, 2008, 12:36 PM EDT

jcs007's avatar

@Jack: LOL

JackAdams's avatar


Not too many got the humor…

September 5, 2008, 3:28 PM EDT

Babo's avatar

Wear gloves?

Schenectandy's avatar

@babo: but then you’ll start pulling your hair out instead, so invest in a hat too if you’re going to go down that path!

JackAdams's avatar

@Babo: No get feelings hurted, little one… Babo good!

mangeons's avatar

I used to bite my nails, but whenever I put nail polish on

a) It tasted really gross
b) I was afraid that biting my nails with nail polish on them would poison me, from eating the nail polish.

I started to paint my nails regularly, and eventually I stopped. I used pretty colors like pink and blue and green, but for a guy, clear polish would work fine too.

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