We all want our kids to be happy and successful, but, on some level, we’ll probably just be relieved if they don’t grow up to pick their noses and eat their boogers. It turns out, we may need to re-think our lowest threshold for parenting success.
A 2015 study that’s making the rounds in the press claims boogers are actually good for our health. I threw up in my mouth a little bit writing that sentence because it feels so wrong. Conventional wisdom tells us that picking our noses introduces germs into our system and boogers are a waste product that we should definitely not consume. But, perhaps, it’s time to revisit that logic.
Picking our noses may still place us at risk for creating tiny tears in our nasal cavities and potentially compromising our immune systems, but boogers themselves are chock full of good things for our bodies. They contain salivary mucins, which form a barrier on our teeth to protect them from cavity-causing bacteria. There’s also evidence that eating boogers prevents respiratory infections, stomach ulcers, and even HIV.
The theory goes that bacteria the mucus in our noses collect turns into a natural medicine when it’s ingested. Researchers are looking into how to create synthetic salivary mucins to add to toothpaste and chewing gum, so your kid shouldn’t aspire to be a professional nose picker anytime soon.
In the mean time, maybe we need to move booger-eating out of the “Eew Gross” category and into whatever category placenta-eating currently resides – the “It Still Feels Gross to a Large Portion of the Public, But There Are Proven Health Benefits” category, if you will. I don’t intend to start eating boogers or to encourage my kids to do so, but, maybe, if I catch them doing it, this won’t be a battle I choose to pick.