Kissing is a universal sign of amorous affection, wrote Huffington Post. But just how “germy” is a kiss? And are those germs good or bad?
First the bad.
With just one kiss, couples can share more than 500 different types of disease-causing germs and viruses, the Academy of General Dentistry told Examiner.com.
Bacteria and viruses in the saliva or blood of one person can be spread to another person by kissing, wrote Better Health Channel.
Here are examples of illnesses caused by bacteria and viruses that can be transmitted via kissing:
- Common cold and flu viruses can easily be transmitted through the saliva or nasal secretions of a sick person, said Examiner.com.
- Better Health Channel wrote that the herpes simplex virus can also be spread through direct contact with the virus when kissing. Everyday Health said that this family of viruses includes everything from varicella zoster, which causes chickenpox, to the energy-zapping Epstein-Barr virus, to cold sores.
- Kissing may also transmit hepatitis B. Everyday Health said although it’s more contagious with blood exposure, hepatitis B can be passed through saliva, especially when open mouth sores are involved.
- Warts in the mouth can be spread through kissing, especially if there are areas of recent trauma, wrote Better Health Channel.
- Mononucleosis, which is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, is called “the kissing” disease. Everyday Health said it’s carried in saliva and can be spread through kissing. LiveStrong.com said that mononucleosis can lie dormant and be passed on without the infected person ever having symptoms of the virus.
- Meningococcal disease –- a potentially life-threatening condition –- which includes meningitis, inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, and septicaemia is another disease which could be transmitted by kissing. Studies show however only deep kissing seems to be a risk factor.
It’s important to remember, while disease-causing germs can be transferred during a kiss, most won’t cause disease and the risk of serious disease is very small, reported Better Health Channel.