We have a little family secret.
It’s something we do, part of our morning routine, that we wouldn’t share with just anybody.
But, after reading more and more about the practice, it’s time to talk about it — because the benefits simply outweigh the risk of sharing.
Every morning, after my kids brush their teeth, they each pick five boogers and … wait for it … eat them.
Now, before you call the Department of Family and Social Services, let me hit you with some information.
First, your body secrets mucus in your nose for a reason. In fact, similar mucus is found in your mouth, throat, lungs and intestinal tract. This mucus is designed to trap bacteria and germs. You’ve got to understand this — or the studies that follow will make little sense to you.
Now for the research!
A 2015 study, published in the Journal of Applied Environmental Microbiology, reveals that snot and boogers protect the surfaces of your mouth from the bacteria that causes cavities. Snot, in particular, forms a film over your teeth. This protective film inhibits the growth of streptococcus mutans — a bacteria that is a major contributor to tooth decay.
So, in many ways, our family practice of picking and eating right after brushing our teeth fits perfectly. It’s part of having a healthy mouth.
In fact, snot is so effective at protecting against cavities, scientists are now in the process of creating a synthetic mucus toothpaste and a similar chewing gum.
Moving on to the immune system, picking your boogers and eating them is an incredible immune-system builder. Scientists have found, in numerous studies, that booger-eaters have greater protection against respiratory illness, stomach bugs and even serious illness like HIV than their non-booger-eating counterparts.
Think of it like an immunization of sorts. By exposing your system to dead or compromised bacteria and germs, your body can build up immunity — without ever having symptoms of the disease.
Australian physician and researcher, Professor Friedrich Bischinger, put it like this when interviewed by The Independent:
“Eating the dry remains of what you pull out is great way of strengthening the body’s immune system. Medically, it makes great sense and is a perfectly natural thing to do,” he said.
There you have it!
AND, you also have an April Fools!
Seriously folks, I don’t actually make my kids eat boogers as part of their morning routine. (No comment on whether they engage in the practice on their own, though.)
But, the rest of this article isn’t made up. It’s real research and real quotes, from real doctors.
So, next time you’re worried about your kids getting a little extra … um …flavor … in their diet, try to take a deep breath and look the other way.
Because it’s good for their health!