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Nail Nibblers Get a New Treatment


I used to have a boyfriend who, because he was so stressed from law school, couldn't stop biting his nails. So then he moved on to nibbling his knuckles. By the end of his first year, he had barely any nails left and puffy, swollen joints. Sound vaguely familiar? Lots of people bite their nails, whether absentmindedly or actively, and most chompers have told me that they just can't stop the habit.

That could change, though, if a Dutch business manages to sell its idea. Alain-Raymond van Abbe, a former cosmetics marketer, has created a barely-visible tooth guard for nail biters. The mouthpiece makes it impossible for people to bite their nails, but it can be removed for eating. After four weeks, van Abbe says, the impulse to gnaw goes away.

Van Abbe's treatment fee can climb as high as $670, which seems awfully expensive for what basically amounts to a clear retainer. But for that kind of fee, I think I'd try to win with will power first.

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