A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that children who bit their nails are less likely to develop allergies, and the effects seem to last into adulthood.
Biting your nails is kind of gross and it can be quite embarrassing. It’s a habit many of us struggle to quit, and regardless of how bad it looks or how it messes up our nails, we just can’t help it.
Well, the good news is, it seems the habit is not so bad after all.
Research done by New Zealand’s Dunedin School of Medicine found that children who bit their nails and sucked their thumbs are less likely to develop allergic sensitivities. This is because nail biting allowed bacteria and pollen to be trapped under the kids’ fingernails which ended up getting into their mouths, boosting their immunity.
“Our findings are consistent with the hygiene theory that early exposure to dirt or germs reduces the risk of developing allergies,” said Dr. Malcolm Sears, the lead researcher for the study.
“While we don’t recommend that these habits should be encouraged, there does appear to be a positive side to these habits,” Dr. Sears said.
The health risks that biting your nails pose is not to be taken lightly. Nails carry all sorts of germs and biting them can increase your risk of infection.
Bacteria from the hands to the mouth can cause an infection of the gums, and it can even damage your teeth and fingers. So, it is best to protect yourself by not exposing yourself to germs.
However, if you can’t keep your nails out of your mouth, remember to keep your hands clean.
According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention‘s website “keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.”