Biting fingernails could result in skin infection, especially whitlow.
That’s the submission of a medical expert, Dr Festus Olalekan, who has advised Nigerians to avoid doing it.
According to a medical report by an American Physician, Dr Joseph Mercola, there are many theories as to why people bite nails.
The report says nail biting often stems from stress or maybe an activity that’s picked up as a child.
It also estimates that 30 per cent of children, 45 per cent of teenagers, 25 per cent of young adults, and 5 per cent of older adults bite their nails.
Olalekan, who works with Graceland Hospital, Ilorin, on Saturday disclosed that biting of nails had remained a common practice among people who do not realise the health implications.
Fingernails house bacteria
He noted that the fingernail is an ideal location for bacteria to grow and it can easily get transferred to the mouth and other parts of the body.
The medical expert also said that the habit could result in swelling and redness around the nails.
He said, “As you chew your nails, bacteria and other microorganisms can enter your body.
“You can also get exposed to paronychia (whitlow), an infection under the cuticle of a fingernail or toenail
“I understand that it is difficult for some people to keep clean nails and avoid the biting of fingernails.
“Nails are ideal location for bacteria to grow. This is why you need to avoid the habit of chewing nails in order to stay healthy.”
He advised people experiencing swelling or redness of the fingernail to visit a doctor in order to prevent other health complications.