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Be Careful With Kissing

kissing spreads bacteria

Few things seem quite as innocent or pure as a kiss. But there are hidden health dangers in locking lips, and you should probably be aware of them as the season for flu and other illnesses falls upon us.

A new study by Dutch researchers found that during a 10 second "French kiss" (one with open mouth and tongue contact), up to 80 million bacteria can be transferred! Holy moly.

This shouldn't come as a huge surprise, I suppose. After all, the human mouth plays host to entire colonies of microbacteria. The number of bacterial species present in the oral cavity has been estimated to be as high as 500 to 650. When you're swapping saliva with another person, obviously there is a lot of opportunity to bring foreign microbes into your system.

If this sounds like a sermon being delivered to an elementary school class to warn against the dangers of intimate contact, it's not! Kissing is great and the vast majority of bacteria being transferred are harmless. But this is a very common way for illness to spread, so if you're going to be out smooching (especially with multiple different partners) you'd be wise to at least take a few precautions at this time of year, like checking to make sure the other person isn't sick, or increasing your intake of body-boosting vitamins and nutrients.

It's not all bad, though! Introducing small amounts of new bacteria to your body through kissing can also help build your immune system. So be careful, but don't be too afraid of those cooties.

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