If you’re a germaphobe, stop reading right now. Seriously. Go find something else to do, such as wiping down all the surfaces of your home with bleach (again).
And now that the squeamish have left the virtual room, we can share this news with no worries about sending anyone into a psychosomatic hissy fit: according to a recent study, a single romantic kiss transfers 80 million bacteria from one mouth to another in a mere ten seconds.
Before you swear never to lock lips again with anyone who hasn’t boiled out their mouth first, you should be aware that your 80 million new little friends are joining the 100 trillion microorganisms that are already happy residents in your body.
Scientists have a name for this crew: the microbiome, and these little critters help you conduct essential tasks such as digesting food, manufacturing nutrients and warding off disease.
Your personal microbiome is unlike anyone else’s, although it is shaped by your genetics, what you eat, where you live, how old you are, and who you kiss.
The bacteria living in your mouth alone can easily exceed the Earth’s population (more than 6 billion). A mouth can be home to over 700 varieties of bacteria, though the typical person has 100 to 200 different bacterial species colonizing their mouth at any given time. A few of those colonies may have been started by a close encounter with an intimate partner.
It’s rather romantic, in a very geeky sort of way, to think that a couple increasingly bonds and becomes more similar to each other on a biological level the more that they kiss. And the scientists who conducted the study measured this, of course. Nine intimate kisses per day is all it takes for couples to have “significantly shared salivary microbiota.” Be still, my heart!
Kissing is also good for your health. The reseach shows that probiotic bacteria – the good kind – in each partner’s mouth rose threefold after a kiss.
Another recent study found indications that the purpose of that all important “first kiss” is that it allows us to assess a potential mate. We’re compelled to smooch in order to analyze the “chemical taste cues in the saliva, including those resulting from the metabolic activity of the bacterial community on the surface of the tongue.”
So there you have it. Kissing determines bacterial microbiome compatibility. Isn’t love grand?
All that said, some bacteria are bad for your oral health. Controlling the evil colonies that can cause cavaties, inflammation and an all-around unhappy mouth demands good oral hygiene. You know the drill, but we’ll remind you anyway: brush your teeth well and floss. Avoid sugary foods and drinks (try to rinse your mouth with water immediately after indulging). See your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
And if your budget leaves no room for battling bacteria and other necessary oral care, don’t despair. You’ll spend less at the dentist with a dental savings plan. To learn more call one of our :DP AtYourService Customer Care Representatives at 1-800-238-5163.