Kissing Couples Share Resistance-Boosting Bacteria

The more you kiss you partner the more identical your mouth bacteria becomes. French kissing for 10 seconds will get the best results, according to a recent study.

It's fun to pucker up your lips and smooch with your significant other, but your make-out sessions may have a healthy twist. Mandy Oaklander of Time reported on a recent study that sought to know what kinds of microbes couples transmit when they kiss.


Remco Kort, Professor at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, asked 21 couples to French kiss for 10 seconds as a part of his study. The participants' mouths were swabbed before and after they locked-lips. The results from this small batch of volunteers were that the bacteria in the mouths of couples were much more similar than that those of two strangers:

“Apparently, being with somebody for an extended amount of time and having a relationship leads to a similar collection of bacteria on the tongue.”

In order to test this hypothesis, one person was asked to drink probiotic yogurt and then kiss their partner. Researchers found that the new bacteria was transferred to their partner's mouth. Kort and his team of researchers found that the more often couples kiss, the more bacteria they shared (and that's a good thing):

“There are a number of studies that show if the diversity in bacteria increases—more different types of species—this is a good thing. If you look at it from this point of view, kissing is very healthy.”

Couples who kiss can build up resistances by exposing themselves to more microorganisms (around 80 million bacteria). Of course, you should know your partner, after all, there are some unsavory things that can be transmitted through kissing.

If you're looking to get the maximum amount of bacteria from your partner in a short amount of time, Kort recommends the most efficient way to do that is through a French kiss:

“French kissing is a great example of exposure to a gigantic number of bacteria in a short time. As many as 80 million in a period of just 10 seconds. Some establish themselves on your tongue, but a great many don’t.”

Read more at Time

Photo Credit: Kyrre Gjerstad

Related Articles

Scientists discover what caused the worst mass extinction ever

How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.

Credit: Ron Miller
Surprising Science

While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.

Keep reading Show less

Why we're so self-critical of ourselves after meeting someone new

A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.

New acquaintances probably like you more than you think. (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)
Surprising Science

We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.

Keep reading Show less

NASA launches ICESat-2 into orbit to track ice changes in Antarctica and Greenland

Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.

Firing three pairs of laser beams 10,000 times per second, the ICESat-2 satellite will measure how long it takes for faint reflections to bounce back from ground and sea ice, allowing scientists to measure the thickness, elevation and extent of global ice
popular

Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).

Keep reading Show less