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Is Kissing Good For Your Health?

Posted in General Health 02 Jul, 2015

Why do we enjoy kissing? If we think about it, connecting mouths and swapping saliva whilst our tongues twine together is quite an odd concept. Other species have been known to engage in a bit of territorial, aggressive lip locking, but we are the only species to use kissing to demonstrate affection. For us humans, it's weird to think of kissing in any other way than feeling good, especially with regards to your physical and mental health.

Well, you may want to pucker up a little more on the 6th July because it's International Kissing Day, and smooching has got some good vibes about it, according to the boffins.

The good bacteria

What do you think is transferred in a 10-second kiss? 500,000 bacteria? As much as 4 million, maybe? According to a study conducted by Dutch biologists, around 80 million bacteria are transferred during a 10-second kiss. Before you recoil in horror, the bacteria is super good for your health. Researchers found that the couples who kiss a lot exchanged plenty of healthy microbes. And you probably already know that exposure to bacteria can be a good thing. It's the whole "don't wrap them up in cotton wool" theory, but for adults. The more germs your body is exposed to, the more your body puts up a fight, and you gain more resilience to viruses in the future.

The feel-good factor

Kissing is the product of a loving and/or passionate scenario. We're always invested in the situation, put it that way. One 15-minute snogging sesh triggers all sorts of chemical reactions that our bodies love, such as:

  • Oxytocin: elevates strong feelings and encourages bonding.
  • Dopamine: the chemical associated with rewarding yourself and pleasurable experiences. It also gives you a natural high.
  • Lowers cortisol; the hormone related to feeling stressed or anxious.

Getting you in the mood

Dopamine can be particularly addictive. The nerve endings in your lips and tongue send a flurry of signals to your brai,n meaning you want more and more. This has a positive affect on your sex life, with lip-to-lip kissing being a great form of foreplay.

Is there any part of kissing that's bad for you?

With 80 million bacteria floating around, there might be a dud or two. Here are a few pointers for a good kiss that don't include technique:

  • Cold sores: if you see a visible scab or sore near the mouth, chances are its herpes. Cold sores are common and, being a viral infection, incurable, so try to avoid those little blighters. However, if you already have herpes, it is easily treatable.
  • Flu and colds: If you have visible signs of a flu bug then chances are you've already spread that baby about the place. Keep a low profile kissing-wise until your symptoms are gone.
  • Mononucleosis: glandular fever is often referred to as the kissing disease but can also be transferred through cup sharing, sneezing and coughing.


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