Good News! Your Child's Gross Booger Picking May Prevent Cavities

It’s seems like every day there’s a new study that makes me feel like a crappy parent and today is no exception. I have three children and so the phrase “Get your finger out of your nose (or the dog’s nose)!” has come out of my mouth at least four to five times a day for the last eleven years. We have this discussion in the car, at home, and especially in church, which is where all nasal annoyances seem to occur with regularity. (This is not a toddler thing. It’s an everyone thing.) There’s even a song we use.

We love that song. But the song is wrong! I’m wrong…again! Apparently, picking your nose and even eating the contents is good for your little nasal excavators. Shudder.

According to a study, mucus from the nose can be an important ingredient to fighting cavities! Imagine my horror at discovering that this week’s cavity-filling trip (yes, I have to take two of my children in for multiple fillings, which is going to cost me hundreds of dollars–yay me) could have been avoided if I’d just let them eat their boogers (or I didn’t fall for the “of course we brushed our teeth” lie). Parenting is ridiculous. reports, 

Mucus, along with skin and tears, makes up our first line of defense against disease. They form a physical barrier against invading germs. And, as it turns out, crucial proteins in mucus called salivary mucins protect our teeth from a type of bacteria that’s responsible for causing cavities, known as Streptococcus mutans, according to a study published this year in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Unlike toothpaste and mouthwash, which kill bacteria, mucins prevent bacteria from latching onto teeth and secreting acid that bores holes through a tooth’s hard outer surface, or enamel. Now, researchers who led the study are engineering synthetic mucus that could be added to toothpaste or chewing gum.

Doesn’t it just figure? Raising kids is so darn confusing. Just when you think you have the obvious figured out, they pull the rug out from under you. I just taught my two-year-old to wipe his boogers into a tissue (or hand them to me as I shout “Noooooo! I don’t want that!”). Am I supposed to re-teach him to eat them now? We’ve indoctrinated generations of children not to pick their noses! Look at this propaganda! It’s like North Korea-level convincing.

I don’t think I want to live in a world where we are making public service videos about how eating boogers is good for your teeth…even if it is. Can we pretend we never read this study and go back to scaring our kids with Shel Silverstein poems?