Why it’s okay for kids to pick their nose (and eat it)

nose picking is actually good for kids

It’s one of the grossest habits most children pick up at some stage (many adults too!). And it’s one that we try to discourage as quickly as possible. Well, hold the snot! A study has confirmed that nose picking (and eating) comes with an unexpected health benefit.

It’s okay to pick your nose, science says

Turns out, telling kids to stop picking their noses is actually not a good idea. Why? Because boogers are actually good for you.

Well, not exactly for you, but for your teeth.

Nose mucus contains a super defence bacteria known as salivary mucins, which acts as a natural defence for your teeth. So when your children are picking their noses and then putting it in their mouths, they are actually adding a coating of protection to their teeth.

Disgusted yet? It gets better…

The study, published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, suggests that the bacteria from boogers can protect teeth from cavities better than mouthwash or toothpaste (which contain harmful acid).

The next step? Adding synthetic mucus to toothpaste or chewing gum … naturally.

Extra health benefits to nose picking

Nose mucus isn’t just great for tiny teeth. According to the researchers, it can also defend against respiratory infections, stomach ulcers and even HIV. The super mucus is now being hailed as a possible alternative to antibiotics.

Katharina Ribbeck, an assistant professor in the department of biological engineering at MIT, who co-authored the study, suggests that the mucins found in your snot may even be able to “stabilise or prevent infection”.

So there you go – the secret to healthy children lies in their snot.

Although it may be hard to stomach, it might be time to change the negativity surrounding nose picking and let our kids pick their noses. But maybe still not in public.

Take a look at our article about other habits that kids actually need to stop doing.