Kissing: How it affects oral health

A great kiss can feel incredible. Throughout history, the idea of the kiss has developed into a form of affection – historians have suggested its origins were born from mammal mouth-to-mouth feeding (we wouldn’t recommend trying this today!).

Kissing is an intriguing practice – the notion of sharing your saliva with someone else seems bizarre! Below, we take a look at what happens to your mouth when you kiss and how it affects your oral health.

What’s in your mouth?

Did you know? A person has over 700 species or organism and bacteria in the mouth, found in places like your saliva, tooth surfaces, cheeks and tongue, to name a few.

Incidentally, your tongue is most responsible for the various microorganisms that find their way into the makeup of your saliva. So, when you lock lips and tongues with someone, bacteria are inevitably transferred.

Foreign bacteria can make your mouth a healthy place

Not all bacteria are bad; some bacteria are actually good for gut health, which has a positive knock-on effect on our bodies in a variety of ways.

Kissing can help replace your body’s stores of healthy bacteria, introducing your microbiome to bacteria it hadn’t had contact with before.

Did you know, 45% of the bacteria in your gut are the same that live in your mouth?

Kissing stimulates saliva production

couple kissingA well-oiled mouth (so to speak!) means bad bacteria gets washed away, keeping your mouth healthy and more likely to remain plaque-free.

Saliva contains proteins and enzymes that wash away food particles and bacteria from the food you eat and when you kiss, it’s saliva galore – so you’re indirectly benefitting your oral health!

Make sure you maintain good brushing and flossing habits, as food particles that are stuck in-between your teeth could find their way into your kissing partner’s mouth.

Not only is this a little bit gross, but it could also cause problems with bad breath and cavities, especially if this is happening on a regular basis.

Babies & kissing

Research suggests kissing babies on the lips can cause dental problems such as cavities.

As they don’t have protective immunity to certain bacteria, they are much more likely to get infected when their teeth are coming through.

Make sure you visit your dentist and hygienist to establish if you have a healthy smile before you consider kissing your baby on the lips.

As dentists begin to re-open in the UK, make sure you book yourself in for a routine check-up.

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