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Can Bitten Nails Grow Back To Normal? [How Long Can It Take?]

Biting your nails can be one of those bad habits that seems impossible to stop. It can be the result of many reasons, including anxiety, stress, and boredom. Sometimes it is just a phase one goes through, other times it can go on for years. Biting nails is also known as onychophagia and is very common, especially among children and young adults. But is the damage permanent or can nails grow back to normal in time?

So, can Bitten Nails Grow Back to Normal? Bitten nails can grow back to normal and fully recover, so long as the nail bed remains intact. However, is the tissue beneath the nail plate are damaged, nails are likely to grow back deformed. After one stops biting, slight growth is seen after a couple of days, however, full growth is observed between three to six months, depending on the severity of biting.

Nail shape and length are genetically determined. Two types of tissue beneath the nail plate are responsible for this and if they become too disfigured, cannot be reattached to the nail plate. 

That being said, this is often only observed in extreme cases and where biting has been severe. For the most part, and for slightly biting and biters, nails can fully recover.

The truth is, for many us, nail biting is addictive. It can be hard to simply just stop, especially if we lead lives with specific triggers where we often turn to bite.

Nevertheless, nail biting causes damage to not only the nail bed but the skin around the nail. It can even cause infection.

So, let us know take a closer look at nail biting. We will look at some of the most commonly asked questions on the topic, including: what can happen if you bite your nails too much, how long bitten nails take to grow back, how to fix damaged nails, and some practical ways to stop this habit, for good.

So be sure to keep on ready to get all the information you need!

What Happens When You Bite Your Nails Too Much?

A lot of nasty things can happen when you bite your nails. It can be potentially harmful and can cause problems for other parts of the body such as gastro-intestinal infections, inflammations, dental damages.

Here are six things that may happen when you bite your nails too much.


If you bite too deeply, the delicate skin below your nail can be exposed (the nail bed). That is why the nail is there in the first place, to protect that skin.

When biting regularly, you leave it vulnerable to any bacteria or pathogens that are in your mouth.

One of the most common forms of infections is paronychia and causes redness, swelling, pain, and lumps. According to studies, it can remain for weeks before it heals.


While the saliva helps your digestion, it can inflame the skin on your fingertips, if they are constantly in your mouth.

An interesting fact is that the saliva actually corrodes the skin and that is why sometimes when you lick your lips they become dry, eventually.

Gastro-intestinal infections are also possible when bacteria enter your stomach. Diarrhoea and abdominal pain can appear through microorganisms that have entered the body after keeping your nails in your mouth.

Also, it increases the risk of fungal infection of your blood that can lead to catching a cold or flu.      

Damaged Cuticles

The cuticle is the layer of skin located above and around the nail. They protect your nails from infections and provide a solid base for the nail to grow and remain healthy.

A damaged cuticle can compromise the healthy growth of your nails and cause inflammations, pain, and redness.


There are numerous microorganisms and bacteria living under your nails.  It is because our hands are all the time in contact with surfaces and debris and pathogens tend to get stuck underneath the nails.

Ingrown Nails

Fingernails contain a layer called the matrix thanks to which the nail grows healthy and in the right shape.

Biting, and biting infections as a result, can damage the matrix, which can lead to chronic ingrown nails and deformities.

Teeth Problems

The sockets that hold the roots of the teeth can be deformed or destroyed. Nail-biting can also cause teeth fractures due to the nibbling, gum disease gingivitis, and gum inflammations.

Doesn’t sound too attractive, if you want to sparkle with a shiny smile!

How Long Do Bitten Nails Take To Grow Back?

Bitten nails take between three and six months to grow back, depending on the severity of the damage you have caused. After biting, the entire surface of the nail plate has been affected and it takes several months to recover.

The process is slow but nails do not grow too fast to begin with, even without the annoying habit.

However, you can see minimal growth and healing results only a couple of days after the biting has stopped.

For the average adult, fingernails grow about 1/10 inch a month.

How Do You Fix Your Nails After Biting Them

Who does not enjoy a neat and clean manicure? Nowadays, there are endless possibilities for colors and designs that we can enjoy. 

There are several tips and tricks you can apply to fix your nails after biting and help them grow back healthy, happy and ready to show off!

Here are six ways to achieve this.

  1. Take care of the cuticles.
  2. Cut excess skin.
  3. Avoid toxic polishing.
  4. Groom.
  5. Eat plenty of protein.
  6. Keep the nails moisturized.

Like mentioned earlier, biting nails damages the cuticles.

The first thing you need to do when healing your nails, is sooth up that part of the skin. They need to start growing back!

You can do this by applying cuticle oil on your nails.

This is the one to get!

And remember, do no cut your cuticles!

Your cuticles protect the base of your nails and are vital for their successful growth.

After that, let your nails grow free! Remove any unnecessary skin around your nails, which can be in their way of healthy growth.

Make sure you do not cut the cuticle skin by mistake. The one you need to get rid of is white in colour compared to the skin attached to your nails.

Take it easy with the colourful designs! If you want your nails to heal after long periods of biting, avoid putting gels and polish until they recover completely.

Colouring your nails can be toxic, especially for compromised and thin nailed surfaces.

Applying gel requires trimming of the actual nail surface, not only of the edges, which makes even perfectly healthy nails thinner and thinner, if you do it often.

Regularly groom and trim your nails to remove unnecessary edges and skin. Use paper nail files (they are more gentle to the nails than the metal ones) and clean and small clippers.

Keep them short and rounded. This is the best shape for strong nails.

A healthy and balanced diet is essential for the state of your nails. They are made from a protein called keratin.

Eating food rich in this substance will help them recover after biting. Make sure you have enough intake of fish, chicken, beans, and eggs.

Other nutrients for healthy fingernails are vitamin D found in dairy products, vitamin B12 found in beef, clams, tuna, and trout; vitamin C naturally found in fruit such as cherries and kiwi.

Hydration is important for the glow and healthy look of your skin and nails and even more so after biting.

You can easily moisturize with a hand cream. Keep one in your bag at all times, so you can use it on the go! In addition, drink plenty of water and fresh juices.

What Is The Best Product To Stop Nail Biting?

Stop-biting nail polish is the best and most effective product to fight nail biting.

You can buy an especially designed nail polish for this purpose.

The most recommended is Magique No Bite, which you can get off Amazon for a great price!

It has an awful taste that stays in your mouth for hours if you bite. Users report good results after one to two weeks after they started using it. Plus it is non-toxic, toxin free and child safe.

Applying is easy. It looks like regular nail polish and comes in a small bottle with a brush. Simply apply a layer with the brush on your nails and wait for a couple of minutes to dry.

Other Ways To Stop Nail Biting

Another fun way to overcome the bad habit is by keeping your hands busy and distracting your mind elsewhere.

Create new positive habits or simply acknowledge the problem for yourself and start working on it.

Find out where the issue comes from and the reason behind which you bite your nails.

Is there anything that is stressing you out or bothering you? Are you bored or unhappy? Try answering these questions for yourself.

Think about your triggers and do all you can to stop them from arising, if you can. It may be that you fiddle with an elastic band, or you may even put on gloves during times you are likely to bite.

However, if everything fails, seek outside help.

Sometimes nail biting can be a sign of a more serious problem such as stress, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

In Summary

To sum up, nails can fully grow back and recover after biting, provided the nail bed has not been damaged.

Even after years of living with the nasty habit, fingernails can grow and look without a trace of damages.

Bitten nails not only look unattractive but can cause further harm to the body such as stomach infections, damaged cuticles, chronic ingrown nails and dental problems.

Once you decide to get rid of this annoying habit, you can help your nails recover by keeping them trimmed, taking care of the cuticles, cutting excessive skin and maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.