Nail biting always seemed like a pretty innocuous bad habit, as bad habits go. It might leave a person with raggedy nails, but if it isn’t hurting anyone, then what’s the big deal, right? Well, one mom has ruined any ideas of nail biting being a harmless and inoffensive habit since she posted a viral video of herself pulling dozens of tiny fingernails out of her son’s gums with a pair of tweezers.

It was purely by happenstance that Louisiana mom Sara Guidry noticed that it looked like there was something in her son’s mouth, so she told him to open up so she could investigate. Once she was in there, she noticed something white sticking out of his gum. She pulled it out with a set of tweezers and was horrified to discover that it was a fingernail. Then it got really stomach-turning, and she pulled out four more out of the same hole.

Then–because when you find five fingernail’s in your kid’s gums, you’d better keep looking–she moved to the other side and found another treasure trove of fingernails hidden in a hole in his gums.

This time she pulled 27 little fingernail parings out of a hole in her son’s gums. She posted a video to Facebook, nominally as a warning but one suspects she had to share it because otherwise nobody would ever believe this could be real.

I’m astonished that Kale was sitting by so calmly while his mother pulled those fingernails out of his gums. Didn’t it hurt? It looked like it hurt, but he wasn’t acting like it hurt. That’s a blessing, at least.

Guidry’s dentist was shocked. He’d never seen anything like this before, but he said that it seemed like when the kid was biting his nails, he’d squish them up in his gums, towards his pallet. The nails were tiny and sharp enough to break into the skin, and then they just started collecting in a little pocket between his baby teeth and permanent teeth.

“Don’t let your children bite their nails!” Guidry said.

This sort of thing happening as a side effect of nail biting is extremely unlikely. Most people who bite their nails suffer no problems aside from chewed fingernails. Still, nobody’s going to forget this mom’s warning about the dangers of nail-biting, because if we hadn’t seen the video, we would never have believed this was possible.

(Image: iStockPhoto / Precinbe)