A Single Kiss Can Transfer Way More Germs Than You Ever Knew

African couple kissing in bed

After reading this report you will know why kissing just got a whole lot less romantic, at least for germaphobes. Because a new study has shown that a single French kiss can transfer up to 80 million bacteria from one person to another. This is how Huff’ Post puts it:

For the study, 21 couples visiting a zoo in Amsterdam were asked to lock lips for 10 seconds. Before the kiss, one member of each couple drank a yogurt drink containing specific strains of bacteria. After the kiss, the researchers swabbed the mouth of the partner who hadn’t drunk the yogurt, and then did a bacterial count of the strains from the yogurt to arrive at the 80 million figure.

That certainly sounds icky. But before you swear off your sweetheart’s lips, you should know that there’s nothing inherently dangerous about transferring germs. In fact, the researchers say it can be a good thing.

“If you increase the diversity of good bacteria, you can increase resistance against infection,” lead study author Dr. Remco Kort, a microbiologist at the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research and a professor of microbial genomics at the University of Amsterdam, told The Huffington Post. “We know that one of the functions of the bacteria we cary with us is they’re protecting us from disease-carrying microorganisms. From this point of view, it could be healthy.”

The findings inspired the creation of a “Kiss-O-Meter” at the Micropia museum in Amsterdam, which allows visitors to measure how many bacteria, and what kinds, they exchange during a kiss.

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