Today in things I never thought I’d be writing about, I’m going to take a moment to explore snot.
Yes. The icky gunk that lives in our nostrils and, when necessary, shoots on out into a tissue. There are occasions, however, where said snot – particularly dried up boogers – does not wind up in a tissue.
According to a recent piece from our friends at Business Insider, over 90 per cent of adults pick their noses and a sizeable chunk of them eat what they mined for afterwards. But aside from being gross, is there any harm to eating boogers?
What’s in a booger?
As the BBC shares, snot is a kind of mucus. It is produced by mucus membranes and exists to “lubricate and protect” the parts of the body that houses it. In short: the snot in your nose works to catch anything that shouldn’t enter into your system (like bacteria) and evicts those unwelcome guests when you sneeze.
What happens when you eat your snot?
The general consensus – surprisingly – appears to be that you’re probably better off putting those babies in a tissue. As BI reported, injecting the viruses captured by your snot puts you at risk of landing an infection.
I mean, your nose and its mucus worked so hard to keep that rubbish out of your system – shoving it back in feels a little counterproductive.
That’s not to say there have been no positive write-ups on snot snacking, though. Men’s Health has shared that the one plus to eating your boogers could be found in your dental hygiene.
The outlet referred to an MIT study that theorised that the presence of “salivary mucins” in your snot could help with the health of your teeth. Reportedly, salivary mucins work to form “a barrier on your teeth from bacteria that can cause cavities”.
Claims have also been made about the possibility that eating your boogers can strengthen your immune system – because of the presence of those viruses we mentioned earlier. But those theories have also been questioned, too.
Perhaps most importantly, a 2006 study on nose-picking found that those who dig around up there are more prone to staph infection risk. This is due to the “tiny tears” you create when scratching at your nostrils, D.J. Verrett, M.D, an otolaryngologist in Plano, Texas told Men’s Health.
If you ask me, I’d say leave the boogers alone and just stick to plain old vitamin C and teeth-brushing, instead.