There Are This Many Germs In A Kiss

This is one of those freaky facts that really help nobody but are good for fun conversations. Just how many germs are in a kiss really?

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Many of us think of kissing in a strictly romantic sense, you feel all those stirrings of emotion and desire for the person you are with and you deposit a quick kiss or a more lasting one, as the case may be, on their lips.

Here is one thing that probably does not occur to you in that moment; your mouth (and that of your partner) is home to 700 different kinds of bacteria. So there will be a lot of exchange there when you basically swap spit with your significant or insignificant other.

in a kiss

A new study, just published in the journal Microbiome, provides the answer to how many germs there are in a kiss (germaphobes, you might want to stop reading now).

In a 10 second kiss, an average of 80 million bacteria are transferred. The researchers from the Amsterdam-based Micropia Museum and TNO Microbiology and Systems Biology in the Netherlands focused on intimate kissing, that is kissing that involves tongue contact and saliva exchange.

It is a type unique to humankind and common in 90 percent of the world’s known cultures.

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The scientists asked 21 couples, aged 17 to 45, to fill out questionnaires. The questionnaires included questions like; the last time they ate, time passed since their last kiss, and how often they engaged in intimate kissing.

The respondents were then asked to spit into a tube and their tongues were swabbed with cotton to analyze what bacteria were already on their tongues and in their saliva. They found that couples had similar bacteria in their saliva and on their tongues, possibly due to shared habits (like smoking), diets, and even toothpaste.

in a kiss

To figure how much bacteria was transferred in a kiss however, they had to ask one person from each couple to drink a probiotic liquid that contained specific varieties of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.

The couple then made out and the spit and swab routine was repeated. Upon analyzing the samples, the researchers found that the quantity of the probiotic bacteria was .54 percent in the receiver’s saliva and .49 percent on the tongue.

In one steamy tongue kiss you and your partner might transfer 80 million bacteria, but according to a “Kiss-O-Meter” installed at the Micropia Museum, only 1000 bacteria are transferred by a quick smooch.