Thumb-Sucking And Nail-Biting Is A Healthy Habit?


Looks like a good news for parents who face hard time getting their kids to take their fingers out of the mouths as researchers in New Zealand have found that nail biting and thumb-sucking might have health benefits.

Children who have habit of sucking thumb and bite their nails were linked to comparatively less risk of allergies to a slew of things such as common colds, animals and dust mites, scientists found in a recent study.

The finding echoes the theory of "hygiene hypothesis," or the idea that a too-clean setting could actually lead to rise of children's allergies.

Apparently, children who were unguarded to some germs early in life evolve immune systems that have the potential to endure contact with a slew of other allergens, StarTribune reported.

Over 1,000 children from Dunedin, New Zealand were observed since their birth in the study. During the study period, participants were asked to provide details regarding their lives. The information then gathered helped researchers to accumulate data on thumb-sucking and nail biting.

According to parents, children were either sucking thumb or nail biting at the age of 5, 7, 9 and 11. In addition, the participants were given skin-prick tests at of the age of 13 and 32 in order to track down allergies. The main idea behind this was to check reaction of 40 substances.

While 38% of children who either sucked their thumbs or were nail-biters were found to have allergies, a shocking 49% of children who had allergies were neither thumb-suckers nor nail-biters.

The researchers also took an array of other factors such as gender, parental history, and pet ownership into consideration; however it was found that these factors hardly affected the result outcome, Perf Science reported.

That being said, there are host of other concerns including social stigma and gum injury around thumb-sucking and nail-biting.

Despite subscribing to these concerns, the authors clarified that they are not suggesting that children should be advised to take up these oral habits.

The findings that appear in a recent issue of the journal Pediatrics simply suggest that thumb-sucking and nail-biting curbs the risk for sensitization to common allergens.

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