Could kids' thumb-sucking, nail-biting offer benefits?

(CNN) —Thumb-sucking and nail-biting can cause health problems for kids and potential financial problems for parents paying for braces. Thumb-sucking can interfere with the alignment of children's teeth and nail-biting can increase the risk of spreading harmful germs from their fingers to their mouths.

Those two childhood habits, however, come with a surprising upside, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.

Children who suck their thumbs or bite their nails may have a lower risk of developing allergies, said Bob Hancox, a co-author of the study and an associate professor at the University of Otago's Dunedin School of Medicine in New Zealand.

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