The Dangers of a Simple Kiss

Sharing a kiss with a significant other seems harmless, right? According to recent research from the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, this may not be the case. Published in the journal Microbiome, a new study revealed that the act of kissing can spread millions of bacteria. Upwards of 600 different species of bacteria are living inside of every human’s mouth. While it is important to note that these 600 species of bacteria account for only a tiny percentage of the 100 trillion microorganisms in the human body, the average person should think twice before sharing a kiss with just anybody.

Remco Kort led the scientific research study using data from 21 recruited couples. These couples completed a survey regarding their particular kissing habits and each gave saliva samples pre and post a 10-second kiss with their significant others. Of the 21 recruited couples, three were selected to undergo a second experiment. In these cases, one of the partners drank a probiotic yogurt beverage before kissing their partner again. Then, the research team took additional samples of the saliva from both of the partners. Kort and his team then calculated the number of kisses that each of the couples shared with one another in a day.

The results of the study showed that couples who kissed a minimum of nine times a day and those who kissed within the timeframe of an hour and 45 minutes had similar oral microbiomes. The couples who had drank the probiotic yogurt beverage were used to examine the number of bacteria transferred in a kiss. The results were that a 10-second kiss transfers approximately 80 million bacteria. According to Kort, “Microorganisms are in general actually beneficial, but opinion of them is totally different. People associate bacteria with spoilage, unhygienic conditions, and disease.”

Kort, however, warns that couples shouldn’t shy away from kissing. He went on to discuss kissing further, “What you’re doing is getting exposed to many bacteria. You gain additional species. In general, in microbiology, if you have more species you build up resistance. From this perspective, kissing is healthy.” So, will you hesitant the next time your significant other goes in for a smooch? We suggest that you try not to think about the number of bacteria being transferred in a quick 10-second kiss.

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