Children who suck their thumbs and bite their nails are HEALTHIER, study finds

It's not all bad news for thumb suckers!

May 22 2019

Good news for thumb suckers!

If your kid loves to suck their thumb, you've probably heard all the horror stories about what it can do to their teeth, but a study has found that children who suck their thumbs and bite their fingernails are less likely to suffer from allergies later in life - making them healthier than kids who don't!

The habit, which babies develop in the womb, can protect children from allergens like house dust mites, grass, mould and fur by exposing them to germs from an early age and effecting their body’s immune system.


Getty images

Getty images


Prof Malcolm Sears, from McMaster University in Canada, said the findings are consistent with “hygiene theory”, which suggest that if you have early exposure to germs, it reduces the risk of developing allergies throughout your life. 

The research, led by the University of Otago in New Zealand and then published in Pediatrics, followed the progress of 1,037 participants from birth right through to adulthood.

Parents reported their children's thumb-sucking and nail-biting habits when their children were aged five, seven, nine and 11.

Their findings showed children who sucked their thumbs or bit their nails had a low risk of getting allergies - 38 per cent compared with 49 per cent. Those who displayed both habits had an even lower risk of 31 per cent!

So, while your little thumb sucker might be driving you crazy every time they stick their thumb in their mouth, it proves that there is a benefit to it. Honest!