How Much Bacteria Is Transferred During A Kiss? Kissing fun fact!
Did you know that kissing could potentially change the bacteria in your mouth when you're exchanging saliva with another person? How Much Bacteria Is Transferred During A Kiss?
For as long as human existence has been around, we've used kissing as a way to show affection, connection, and intimacy intimate kissing involving the tongue and exchanging saliva has been a courtship behavior that's been shown in commonly in up to 90% of the cultures.
So we thought it would be fun today to talk about kissing and pose the question, Does kissing change the bacteria in your mouth? Now, new research suggests that when you're kissing your partner, you're not only swapping spit, so we're gonna dig into that.
And another fun little tidbit is that kissing may even help you connect further to your partner by choosing them via a chemical pathway in their saliva.
So are we kissing someone to see if they're the right fit for us and have good chemistry?
Now, just a quick break, I'm gonna introduce myself, I'm Marcie Vaske. I'm a functional medicine nutritionist. I specialize in gut health, so I work with a lot of people who struggle with floating gas, constipation, heartburn, diarrhea, and that really just to name a few things.
And if that sounds like you or someone you know, you can easily make an initial appointment and get started on your health journey. Now, I'm also gonna share our free guide, which is Five Ways to Improve Your Gut Health, because I know sometimes you like to just do some research, learn a little bit more, and that's a great way and place to start. All right, so back to kissing, and our bacteria.
The oral microbiome or the bacteria in our mouth actually plays a really big role in our health in many ways. And a while back, Ashley did a video on, Should you take probiotics for your mouth? I'm gonna link it below because it has great information, so feel free to check it out.
So first, let's break down some specifics. Saliva actually contains 700 different microbial species, and it's possible that some of those species could end up in your mouth after exchanging a kiss with your partner or loved one.
Now, there are a number of factors that go into shaping our bacteria, and some of them are genetic relatedness, diet, age, and even the people you interact with the most around.
In fact, there was a study done that showed that intimate partners who live together shared more of the same bacteria than those who didn't. So in essence saying that if you live in the same household with other people and especially your intimate partner, you are likely to have more of the same.
Now, as I mentioned, the oral microbiome plays a substantial role in many systems, and two, in particular, are digestive health and our immune defenses, and they play on that both positively and negatively.
Fun Fact: How Much Bacteria Is Transferred During A Kiss?
Now, there was actually a new study done by the Netherlands that found when you kiss somebody for 10 seconds, 80 billion bacteria can be transferred into the other person's mouth.
The study also found that couples who kiss at least nine times a day have very similar bacteria in their mouths, which were found to be the strains mostly of lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Now, in the same study, evidence also revealed that part of the bacteria remained around after a kiss for up to one to two hours. But what they found is that the bacteria will get into the oral cavity and most of it gets washed out, but what remains is the bacteria that get stuck on the tongue and it begins colonization.
Now, the overall idea of bacteria transferring during kissing isn't really a surprising or even new idea, but it's fun to lean into some of the new research and find some of the fun facts. So I'm not here to tell you to stop kissing your partner.
I think the takeaway is to make sure that both you and your partner are supporting your oral health, which then supports each other and your overall individual health. So you might be asking, okay, well how do I keep my oral microbiome or oral bacteria healthy for my partner and myself?
One thing you could do to help keep your oral health happy and healthy is to eat high-fiber vegetables. So things like celery, carrots, broccoli, or cauliflower in the raw form, that fiber will help create more healthy bacteria in your mouth.
Also, you wanna think about micronutrients and specifically one vitamin C, because vitamin C is a wonderful antioxidant and it helps to keep the mouth healthy if you're suffering from anything like gingivitis, that helps to help heal.
And so that's one other piece you could look into. Another thing just like everything with gut health and bacteria, in general, is to get a variety of fermented foods in your diet.
So things like sauerkraut or kimchi, or even miso, you know, some of those nice fermented foods help to support good bacteria, not only in your gut but also in your mouth.
So like I said, the takeaway isn't to stop kissing your partner, but it's fun to dig into the details of what does happen when we kiss and what kind of bacteria is being passed to our partner.
I think thinking of your overall health and wanting to keep yourself and the person that you love healthy, it's exciting to know that you know, there are a few steps you can take to keep that bacteria healthy and you're kissing strong.
If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic. We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.
Or you can just start by downloading our FREE GUIDE: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH