Newsletter: Does Kissing Affect Oral Health?

Newsletter: Does Kissing Affect Oral Health?

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Our saliva plays a very important role in washing out the mouth and removing the cavity-causing food particles that accumulate after meals.  This cleansing process is very important to oral health.  But this same saliva contains various viruses and bacteria, and so a potential problem lies in the fact that kissing may transmit a small number of disease-causing bacteria and viruses through the oral cavity.  We all seem to be aware that kissing someone on the lips is one way of transmitting viruses such as the common cold, mononucleosis (the “kissing disease”), chicken pox, herpes simplex (causing cold sores), as well as hepatitis B and the human papillomarvirus (causing mouth warts).

But did you know that periodontal disease (gum infection) can be transmitted through saliva?

The American Academy of Periodontology recommends that if one family member has periodontal disease, all of the family members should be screened as well.

And it is very important that those family members diagnosed with periodontal disease be seen by their dentists on a regular schedule to control the growth of the bacteria that can be spread so easily to others.

Bacteria are also the culprit in the development of cavities.  An interesting note is that bacteria that cause tooth decay aren’t found in the mouths of newborn babies, but a baby’s mouth can be infected with another person’s saliva, which can be passed  by a kiss on the lips from someone affected with active tooth decay!

But don’t stop kissing!  Research into passionate kissing has uncovered many valuable health benefits.  In a healthy mouth, saliva contains substances that fight bacteria, viruses and fungi.  Deep kissing increases the flow of saliva, which helps to keep the mouth, teeth and gums healthy.  Around 80% of the bacteria in saliva are common to everyone and 20% are unique to you.  The exchange of saliva in kissing stimulates your immune system to create antibodies to the foreign bacteria, a process called cross-immunotherapy which helps you fight infection.

Prevention Tips While Kissing:
There are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk of passing on, or catching, an infection while kissing.  You should try to:
Avoid kissing when you or the other person is sick.
Avoid kissing anyone on the lips when you, or the other person, have an active cold sore, warts or ulcers around the lips or in the mouth.
–Maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly.
See your doctor about immunizations.  Vaccines are available to prevent some infectious diseases.

Don’t forget to stop in the office for your free Dental Kit!

Robin JungblutNewsletter: Does Kissing Affect Oral Health?