One of Britons’ self-confessed worst habits – nose-picking – may actually be good for their health, new research suggests.
A poll in January revealed nose-picking is the second most common bad habit among British people.
A new study, however, may now encourage more people to have a good rummage in their nostrils, because bogies have been found to have a series of health benefits.
The study, published by the American Society for Microbiology, found that so-called ‘snots’ have a positive effect on teeth because they protect from cavity-causing bacteria.
While toothpaste and mouthwash kill the bacteria, bogies are effective because they are made of mucus, known as salivary mucins, which prevents bacteria from clasping onto your teeth altogether.
Researchers are now looking into possible ways of creating synthetic mucus to be turned into chewing gum or toothpaste to give people an analogous effect.
Austrian lung specialist Prof Friedrich Bischinger of New York University claims the negative connotation of nose-picking should end as those who eat their ‘snots’ tend to be happier and more in harmony with their body.
“And eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body’s immune system. Medically it makes great sense and is a perfectly natural thing to do,” Bischinger said, according to a Kidspot report.
“In terms of the immune system, the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines it works just like a medicine.”
Mucus-containing bogies are also thought to be effective in protecting against HIV, stomach ulcers and respiratory infections.
Katharina Ribbeck, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT, who co-authored the study with PhD student Erica Shapiro Frenkel in her laboratory, said bogies may be a less intrusive treatment “not necessarily to resolve infections but to stabilize or prevent infection.”
The study, however, contradicts previous reports suggesting very much the opposite – that nose-picking is detrimental to people’s health.
Doctor Erich Voigt has previously warned picking your nose could actually be dangerous.
He claims the introduction of germs alongside the act of picking your nose can cause abrasions.
Consequently, such abrasions “bleed, promoting germs, increasing the crust and irritation by picking your nose.”
Depending where people are and what they have laid their hands on, such a habit can cause some vile effects.
He warned children are most likely to give themselves nosebleeds by picking their nose.
“The blood supply to the nose is very vigorous – there are five arteries that lead to the front of the nose (kiesselbach’s plexus).
“When an abrasion occurs there can be vigorous bleeding, children induce a lot of nosebleeds that way.”