When we think of kissing and health, we might first think of the infections we might catch from another person. But actually, if you take a little care, there are many more health benefits than risk.
Some ways to diminish the health risk are: avoid kissing people you don’t know; don’t kiss someone who is ill or who has a cold sore, wart, or any lesion on their lips or mouth; and don’t kiss anyone with obvious gum or dental disease.
The origin of kissing
Most anthropologists believe that kissing evolved in humans as an extension of prehistoric mothers, who, without the benefit of baby food, started to feed solid food to their babies by first chewing it themselves, then passing the softer food into their baby’s mouth.
Kissing has not been studied scientifically as much as say, high cholesterol or heart disease, but there has been enough academic-level research done that we can offer this list of health benefits. The science of kissing even has a name—phlematology.
In case you are interested, at the end of the post we have a link to a book “The Science of Kissing”. Some of the list below is compiled from the work of Dr. Kory Floyd of the Arizona State University (USA), and various researchers at Oxford University (UK).
Potential health benefits of kissing
1) Helps keep your teeth and mouth healthy
Kissing stimulates the production of saliva, which is great for the teeth. Saliva is your body’s first line of defense to wash away plaque that forms around your teeth.
2) Improves your oral “microbiome”
The microbiome is basically the group of healthy bacteria that normally inhabit various parts of our body. Without these bacteria on our skin, gut, and in our mouths, our metabolism would be out of whack, and we would likely get sick. More research is showing that a diverse microbiome is a good thing, and kissing is great for diversifying our oral microbiome.
3) Kissing releases lots of feel-good hormones
When you kiss, your body releases a flood of oxytocin from your brain. This hormone helps bind two lovers, as well as a mother with her baby. We feel calmer when oxytocin is released, and at the same time, this activity releases other hormones—dopamine and norepinephrine—that make us more excited. Perhaps this crazy mix of hormones explains why some kisses are so emotionally complex.
4) Kissing helps blood pressure and cholesterol
This mix of various hormones have been shown to dilate our blood vessels and lower blood pressure, as well as decrease the amount of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” type) in our blood.
5) Kissing improves our self-esteem
We all probably know this, but it has been scientifically studied. One German study showed that men who leave for work after being kissed by their wives earn more money. The explanation is that this makes us feel loved and connected. The resultant higher self-esteem helps us perform better at work (as well as off work).
6) Kissing helps us find (and keep) a good partner
The Oxford researchers, as well as others, have shown that the kiss is a way that we size-up the other person as a potential long-term partner. For heterosexual couples, kissing is a way a woman can find complementary good genes to help her create a healthy baby. And couples that continue to kiss over the years are more likely to stay together.
We have only scratched surface about this subject. But at least it gives you the idea that kissing is good for your physical and emotional health. For more details, you might check the links in this article as well as the book below. But our main advice is that you seek out some deep, long, passionate and healthy kissing this Carnaval.
The Science of Kissing: What our Lips are Telling Us (Book, Amazon)
Read also in ProcuraMed
Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)