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Be Careful Under the Mistletoe: How Kissing Affects Your Oral Health

Two people kissing in the snow

Kissing can affect your oral health — for good and for bad. Don’t get caught off-guard under the mistletoe, read all about it.

There are so many holidays right around the corner, and holidays are always a fun time filled with family, friends, food, fun, and… kissing? With Christmas coming up soon, New Year’s around the corner, and Valentine’s Day shortly behind, here are a few things to remember about how kissing affects your oral health.

Kissing is Good for you
Believe it or not, kissing can be good for your oral health. Saliva contains substances that help fight off viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Kissing (especially deep kissing) increases the production of saliva. This helps you keep your teeth and gums coated in more saliva, which means more protection. Saliva also helps you reduce food particles stuck between your teeth after eating, which is one of the major causes of cavities, or tooth decay.

Kissing can also boost your immune system, help burn calories, and overall just makes us feel good. There’s nothing wrong with kissing and it has many benefits to your oral health and your overall health.

Viruses spread easily through kissing
Unfortunately, there are also risks to kissing when it comes to your oral health. Viruses can easily be transferred. Remember how we said saliva has all these great antibodies that fight off the bad stuff? While that is true, they can also contain bad bacteria and become a pathway for viruses. Viruses are powerful and when exchanged mouth-to-mouth, they have access to body parts such as your lungs, nose, and throat. These areas are right where they need to be to infect your body, and they also happen to lack the protectant of saliva that your mouth has the benefit of.

Viruses aren’t the only thing that you can catch from a kiss. Certain diseases are easily transmissible through kissing such as gum disease and mono. Believe it or not, gum disease is contagious and can be caught through kissing. Mononucleosis has been dubbed “the kissing disease” as it spreads through saliva. The best course of action is to be sure whoever you’re kissing has a clean bill of health. As long as you’re smart and safe, smooching should be enjoyable.

Be careful with COVID
With COVID-19 still present in our world, it’s important to know who you’re puckering up for pretty well. You might want to skip out on the tradition of kissing someone to ring in the new year this New Year’s Eve unless you have a partner you know has been socially distancing and playing it safe. The last thing you want to wake up with on the first day of 2021 is a nasty cold or case of COVID-19.

The Final Verdict
Like everything in life, kissing is good in moderation. The key is to maintain a healthy and clean mouth. Floss your teeth, scrape your tongue, and make sure you’re brushing your teeth for at least two minutes a day, twice a day.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and pucker up this holiday season!

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