Science says that people kiss so they can taste and smell a mate’s potential health, and gauge their compatibility. Science also says that there are more than 500 different germs that could be transmitted in a single kiss. When we detect pheromones and the passion is high, most people are not weighing the health risks of saliva swapping. According to an article published by the Journal of American Dental Association, saliva, intimate kissing, the sharing of food, utensils, or toothbrushes, are also huge periodontal disease carriers and put children and adults at risk for disease.
Below are common diseases that can result from what may be a harmless kiss or swapping of saliva:
“Common cold (most popular) can be caused by many reasons (and many different viruses, for that matter): Contamination is caused by air borne droplets, direct contact with the virus or any other foreign matter penetrating successfully through a person’s nose and throat. Less common but also known to be passed via saliva is strep throat (streptococcal or strep) in which bacteria causes an infection in the tonsils and throat (penicillin is your best immediate relief, thank you Alexander Fleming).
Cold sores or Herpes (caused by Herpes Simplex Virus-1 (HSV-1)): Herpes is spread through open sores (cold sore blisters) on the lips or near the mouth. Though the infection is contagious at all stages of cold sore (and may lie dormant in the body with no flare ups at times) the infection is most contagious when the sore is open and leaking fluid. This popular kissing virus can be passed from person to person from the site of blisters even after they have healed (Lavender essential oils right on the spots does the trick naturally).
Herpes infection is caused by viruses that are considered part of the herpes family which includes Epstein-Barr (causes glandular fever), Varicella-zoster (causes chickenpox) and herpes simplex (causes cold sores). Herpes simplex virus can be spread through direct contact with the virus when kissing. Herpes is most easily spread to others when the blisters are forming or have erupted. The virus can be ‘shed’ (spread to others) from the site of blisters even when they are healed. Chickenpox is easily spread from person to person by direct contact, droplets or airborne spread.
Hand, foot and mouth disease (current outbreaks among young children) is caused by Coxsackie virus and is spread through open sores in the mouth. (with young children, hands go into their mouths frequently, putting them at high risk for this disease).
Meningitis is an inflammation of the covering (meninges) of the brain and spinal cord. This brain swelling can be caused by mold in the air and other foreign dirty bacterial matter that is airborne as well as saliva swapping. When people have a lower immune system, they are at greater risk. It is a life-threatening condition and studies have shown that deep kissing is one of the risk factors for meningitis. It can also be spread through direct contact or via droplets.
Periodontal Disease, Gum Disease, and Tooth Decay is also caused mainly by the bacteria mentioned above (streptococcus). Direct and indirect contact occurs most commonly by sharing of drinking cup, eating utensils, tooth brushes or kissing.
Glandular fever (also known as the kissing disease) is the common term for a viral infection called infectious mononucleosis, caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. The virus is spread through saliva and infections occurs through contact.
Hepatitis B can also be transmitted through kissing although blood has higher level of this virus than saliva. Infection can occur when infected blood and saliva come into contact with someone else’s blood or mucous membranes. (Mucous membranes line various body cavities including the mouth and nose). A person is more likely to be infected when kissing if they have open sores in or around the mouth.
Warts in the mouth can spread through kissing, especially if they are in areas of recent traumas.” (Source: Web Dental.com)
Do yourself and your loved ones a favor. Take care of that mouth of yours and practice good oral hygiene. Think twice before opening up and giving the gift that keeps on giving (which may just be the common cold, a bad case of herpes or other unlikable disease). Simple hugs and hand bumps are appropriate sometimes.
(Photo Credit: Life123.com, WebMD, en.wikipedia.org, clinicaladvisors.com, idamaes.com,