A Review of Kissing and Oral Microbiota From the Best Dentist in Town

Posted on: May 4, 2015

Best DentistAs the best dentist practice in the area, we are fully aware of the scientific studies, current research, and information that is pertinent to the dental profession. For us to remain in an elite class, we are always studying new techniques and new ideas as they emerge. One study that recently caught our eye was conducted on the effects of intimate kissing, with regards to the bacteria that resides in the saliva of a human mouth. As the best dentist in the area, this is a fascinating subject for us, as humans are the only animal that will actively engage in mouth-to-mouth intimacy, whereby bodily fluids are exchanged. Other animals do use mouth to mouth contact, but this is typically for non-intimate purposes like the acquisition of food. Despite the fact that over 90% of human cultures demonstrate some form of intimate kissing, there had not been a comprehensive study done on how kissing affects the bacteria that lives in the human oral cavity, or the mouth. In other words, is there a transfer of this bacteria, what are the effects of this transfer, and does the fundamental make-up of a person’s oral microbiota change when they engage in a long term relationship that involves a lot of intimate kissing?

From our perspective, it is important to understand studies such as this one since they could have a direct impact on certain conditions involving a patient’s wellbeing. For our purposes, it is important to note that the oral cavity, or the mouth, has two very distinct surfaces which are colonized by microscopic bacteria. The first are the teeth, which are also known as a non-shedding surface. The second are shedding surfaces and include the hard palate, gingival crevices, the tongue, the cheeks, and the lips. The human mouth contains approximately 700 distinct species of bacteria, the large majority of which are anaerobic in nature. Saliva also contains a number of strains of bacteria, though it is a matter of debate if these occur naturally in saliva or are washed into the saliva from the dorsal area of the tongue. It is this transient bacteria that the study was aimed at, to find out if it can be transmitted to an intimate partner and also to study if, once transmitted, the bacteria can colonize a new home.

The study showed conclusively that couples who have been intimate for a longer period of time tend to have similarities in the bacteria that resides in their mouth. While kissing certainly is a factor, the study found that there are also other reasons for these similarities. Couples that live together tend to have similar dietary habits and lifestyles which could result in the same kind of bacterial colonization. This was especially evident when the study revealed that while there was a high degree of bacteria sharing during kissing, most of the bacteria was transient and unable to make a permanent colony in the receiving partner’s mouth. Only a very small number of bacteria were able to successfully colonize the new tongue.  Think about that next time you kiss!

In the meantime, if you are looking for the best dentist in town – give us a call and schedule an appointment.

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