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article imageA 10-second kiss transfers 80 million bacteria, study says

By Sravanth Verma     Dec 21, 2014 in Health
A research study from institutes in the Netherlands reports that a couple will share approximately 80 million bacteria during a 10-second kiss!
Published in the journal Microbiome, and titled "Shaping the oral microbiota through intimate kissing," the study looked at the tongue and salivary microbiota of 21 couples after controlled kissing experiments. The number of bacteria transferred was assessed by using probiotic Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium marker bacteria introduced into the mouth of one of the partners through the intake of a probiotic yoghurt drink.
The probiotic bacteria are two of 700 kinds found in our mouths and account for 0.15 percent. After the kiss, the percentage of these bacteria was found to be 0.54 percent in saliva and 0.49 percent on the tongue. Based on these percentages, researchers estimated the total number of bacteria transferred.
"To our surprise, we found that those people that are intimately related ... share much more of that bacteria on their tongue than unrelated individuals," said Remco Kort, an author of the paper from the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research. “To our knowledge, the exact effects of intimate kissing on the oral microbiota have never been studied. We wanted to find out the extent to which partners share their oral microbiota, and it turns out, the more a couple kiss, the more similar they are," he added.
But there isn't much cause to worry even among hypochondriacs. We are more likely to fall sick through a handshake than a kiss. Kissing plays an important part in partner selection behavior. Research at the State University of New York at Albany found that 59 percent of men and 66 percent of women ended a relationship because the first kiss wasn't up to expectations.
Kissing creates various chemical signals within the brain that can lead to love, and in turn has various positive health effects on the body. Oxytocin, called the “love hormone”, creates a sense of closeness, adrenaline boosts heart rate and cortisol, the stress hormone, dips to reduce uneasiness.
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