Kids Who Pick Their Noses Are Actually Healthier, Says Science

Little girl picking her nose
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It's not uncommon for moms to pull their kids' fingers out of their noses as they dig for "pieces of emerald" that we consider gross and they consider, well, a snack. Though such a sight is considered unbecoming by societal standards, booger-eating, as it turns out, comes with some pretty incredible benefits. That's right, experts believe children who pick their noses are actually healthier than other people, which might just inspire you to get in the game (LOL).

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While the thought of rummaging through your nose for the sake of health sounds ... less than appetizing, a study published in the January 2015 edition of the journal Applied Environmental Microbiology reveals boogers and dental hygiene go hand-in-hand -- specifically snot, which just so happens to be the best part, right?

(Don't get grossed out just yet. You'll want to read this.)

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Our snot -- aside from being thick and sticky and icky -- contains "salivary mucins," which act as a physical barrier against cavities and help prevent the bacteria that causes them from sticking onto our teeth. In other words, that mucus your kid pulled out of his or her nose and then ate could be a natural resource for cavity prevention.

But, wait -- there's more!

Researchers have also identified MORE benefits to mucins, as some studies suggest the mucus-y component might also combat stomach ulcers, respiratory infections, and ... HIV.

Say what?

In fact, experts associated with this study say they've been looking for ways to create synthetic mucus in the form of a toothpaste or chewing gum for treating certain conditions, as researchers believe salivary mucins don't attack "good bacteria" like antibiotics can. Katharina Ribbeck, an MIT biological engineering professor and study coauthor, tells Ozy.com that a synthetic mucus alternative wouldn't "resolve infections" but could help "stabilize or prevent infection."

Hmm ... I wonder if kids will soon get boogery toothpaste and chewing gum inside their dental goodie bags? (Yuck.)

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As crazy as booger-eating for health might sound, this info reaffirms some past research that found picking your nose and eating it can be good for you, since mucus traps germs in the air that can help make our immune systems tougher and more resilient. And the perks apparently don't stop there, as children who eat their boogers also tend to be happier -- which could mean less cranky and upset little ones if we allow them to keep calm and dig on (just make sure you monitor your kid's nose-picking, as too much digging can lead to nosebleeds, which aren't fun for anyone).

Obviously, a topic like munching on boogies and snot isn't common kitchen table talk, and it'll still earn a few stares if done in public. But at least moms can feel less icky and more at ease about kids who enjoy picking their boogers, since it can help prevent cavities, strengthen their immune systems, and help them enjoy a happier life. (Talk about a win for parenting!)

So, the next time your kid feels the urge to dig for boogers, allow LO to indulge. Who knows? A boogie a day could keep the dentist away.

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