Onychophagia (Nail biting), anxiety, and malocclusion

Indian J Dent Res. 2012 Sep-Oct;23(5):680-2. doi: 10.4103/0970-9290.107399.


Nail biting is a stress removing habit adopted by many children and adults. People usually do it when they are nervous, stressed, hungry, or bored. All of these situations are having a common phenomenon between them is anxiety. Onychophagia is also a sign of other emotional or mental disorders. It is a habit that is not easy to quit and reflection of extreme nervousness or inability to handle stressful conditions. This abnormal habit may cause various malocclusions associated with dentoalveolar segment of the oral cavity. Crowding and rotations of incisors are common with this habit.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malocclusion / etiology*
  • Mouth Diseases / etiology
  • Nail Biting / psychology*
  • Nail Biting / therapy