We all know that kissing is the act of pressing ones lips onto another as an expression of greeting, affection, and love. Kissing has been shown to provide health benefits like lowering stress levels, but, what you may not know, is that kissing can also promote disease through the transmission of bacteria or viruses. Do not despair--the risk of serious infection is very small.
Some of the bacterial diseases that can be transmitted through kissing include meningococcal disease and tooth decay. Studies have shown that in extreme cases there is a chance that meningitis, which is inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord, and septicemia may develop. Tooth decay can also spread via the transmission of cavity causing bacteria called Streptococcus mutans. Once the mouth is colonized with the infected saliva, the cavity causing bacteria can take over a healthy environment.
Here are some guidelines to follow during this Valentine's Day (and every day!)
-Do not kiss anyone who is sick
-Do not kiss anyone who may have a sore, wart, or ulcer on the oral area
-Make sure that your cavity risk has been assessed and that all caries have been stabilized
-Ask your kissing partner how long it has been since their last dental check (kiss with caution if they've had cavities within the last three years)
-Maintain good oral hygiene and use anticavity toothpaste and mouthwash
-Visit your doctor and dentist regularly
Dr. Hyatt’s Dental Corner
As your family advocate for dental care we would like to provide you with some tips on how to save your money and have a beautiful smile.