While it’s not typically something we think about in the moment, you should definitely consider whether you might be sharing more than just love when you kiss your significant other and how your dentist can actually improve your love life.
What’s Really Exchanged in a Kiss?
According to a recent study, a healthy mouth can contain some 300 individual species of bacteria at any given time. And a single kiss lasting approximately 10 seconds can transfer a whopping 80 million bacteria from mouth to mouth! That sounds a little gross!
But it’s not all bad news. While it’s true some bacteria are responsible for things like gum disease and other oral diseases, not all bacteria are bad. In fact, some mouth bacteria play a specific part in helping you stay healthy including fighting bad breath, helping digest food and in some cases, actually helping reduce oral disease.
So, in preparation for a romantic Valentine’s Day, here’s the good, the bad and downright ugly of kissing, and how your dentist can improve your love life.
Benefits of Kissing on Oral Health
The aforementioned bacteria are found on our oral surfaces, including teeth, tongue, and cheeks, and in our saliva. Which is mostly what we share during a kiss. You may question how the exchange of saliva and bacteria could possibly be healthy, but kissing may offer some notable oral health benefits.
First, the good. Kissing can increase salivary flow. Saliva is important because it helps to wash away excess food debris in the mouth and neutralises harmful acids that can cause tooth decay. Some organisms in your saliva can help to decrease bacterial growth and even slow down plaque formation. Certain organisms in saliva help stop the growth of harmful bacteria which play a part in tooth decay. In short, a healthy saliva flow promotes a healthy mouth.
Kissing also exposes you to more germs, which can actually help to boost your immune system. So while we don’t recommend you rely on kissing as a sure path to immunity, to some degree it does help strengthen your body’s resistance to infectious organisms.
Risks of Swapping Saliva
Now, the bad (and the potentially ugly!). Kissing can also transmit the bad bacteria that lead to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Both are caused by bacteria in the mouth that forms due to poor brushing habits or not flossing. Although you can’t technically catch gum disease or cavities from another person, bacteria in the mouth can be spread through the saliva while kissing.
Maintaining Oral Health When Kissing
Sharing a kiss can actually be beneficial to your oral health, AS LONG AS YOUR MOUTH IS HEALTHY! And here’s where your dentist comes in.
A professional check-up can identify whether you’re harbouring any potential nasties that might inadvertently get in the way of your romantic overtures.
It’s in everyone’s best interest to maintain excellent oral health. By maintaining optimal oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing your teeth twice daily, and visiting your dentist every six months, you can be confident you’re only sharing your love with your loved one.
Do you need a quick check-up before date night? Contact our friendly staff at your local My Family Dental team.