"One kiss" can spread 80 million bacteria, according to scientists

According to a new study in the journal Microbiome, a single 10-second kiss can transfer as many as 80 million bacteria, according to Dutch scientists.

Yes, when you and your loved one kiss, you're doing a lot more than just showing a little affection, you're also swapping tons of bacteria!

Screenshot fromt the video.

A team from the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) led by Professor Remco Kort, asked 21 couples a series of questions to assess their kissing habits, including how frequently they had kissed in the last year and when they last locked lips.

The study, published the American scientific journal Microbiome, measured how many microbes the exchange. Their levels of bacteria and other micro-organisms on their tongues and in their saliva were tested.

In a single kiss of ten seconds, 80 million bacteria are transferred - on average - from one person to the other,
says Remco Kort, who collaborated with Amsterdam's Micropia Museum for the study. The museum claims to be the first dedicated to the science of microbes.

Researchers found that people in a relationship have more similar types of oral bacteria compared to strangers. And couples who reported they kissed more frequently had more similar microbiomes in their mouths.

To find see how similar the shared bacteria were, the researchers did one more test. One person in the couple drank a probiotic yogurt drink containing bacteria called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria and waited a little bit. Then, the couple shared a 10-second, French kiss. The researchers took a sample of the bacteria in the mouth of the partner who hadn't had any probiotic yogurt. What the researchers found was that the volume of bacteria transferred to the other partner was on average 80 million bacteria!

French kissing is a great example of exposure to a gigantic number of bacteria in a short time. While 80 million bacteria being transferred in just one kiss sounds scary, it is in fact probably a good thing, acting as a form of immunization and building resistance from exposure to different microorganisms,
says Professor Remco Kort.

It was also found out through questionnaires that the more often a couple kisses, the more bacteria they share. Dry, prudent kisses only transfer 1,000 bacteria and a French kiss will give millions of bacteria!

This might all sound a bit icky, but researchers say transferring bacteria can actually be beneficial for you.

There are a number of studies that show if the diversity in bacteria increases — more different types of species — this is a good thing,
study author Remco Cort told Time.

In fact, it can actually help keep the body resistant to disease, by allowing your body to build up resistance to different microorganisms. If you would you like to know how much bacteria you and your partner are sharing? There is a "Kiss-o-meter" set up in Amsterdam based on this research that will rate your kisses: Micropia. They will give you a read out of the microorganisms you’ve exchanged.

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