Kissing is a love language. It’s a show of affection – but it does come with health risks! The good news is that with good oral hygiene, you can kiss up a storm with peace of mind…
Diseases can be spread from person to person in several ways and this includes:
Contact spreading: During kissing, or indirectly when you touch a contaminated surface or object.
Droplet spreading: Infected droplets from the nose and throat may travel around a metre before they drop onto a surface. At times, infected droplets can linger in the air. You can get an infection through an infected droplet if you inhale it or if you come into contact with a contaminated surface or object.
Airborne spreading: Some infected particles from the nose and throat can stay in the air for a long time because of their small size. These are droplet nuclei and can be inhaled directly into the lungs.
The dangers of kissing
Some conditions that you can get from smooching your new Tinder-date, include:
Colds: Different viruses can cause the common cold. You could catch a cold from airborne droplets or direct contact with fluids and mucus from an infected person’s nose and throat.
Glandular fever: Is the common term for a viral infection called infectious mononucleosis, caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. It’s also known as the kissing disease. It can pass through coughing, sneezing, sharing toothbrushes or glasses. EBV can live in your saliva for months after the infection. Avoid kissing people and sharing food or drinks until several days after the fever has subsided.
Herpes infection: Herpes simplex virus can be spread through direct contact with the virus when kissing. It spreads easily to others when the blisters are forming or have erupted. The virus can also be spread to others from the site of blisters even when they’ve healed.
Hepatitis B: Although blood has higher levels of this virus than saliva, kissing may also transmit this virus. A person is more likely to be infected with Hepatitis B when kissing, if they have open sores in or around the mouth. An infection would be the result of blood and saliva that comes into direct contact with someone else’s bloodstream or mucous membranes.
Warts: Warts in the mouth can spread through kissing, especially if there are areas of recent trauma.
Syphilis: Syphilis is a bacterial infection that’s usually caught by having sex with someone who’s infected. It’s a highly infectious condition, and one of its hallmarks is the development of sores in the mouth. The sores are usually round and open which might help bacteria spread through close contact. Any time there’s an open sore and/or blood present; an infection can be orally transmitted.
To kiss or not to kiss?
- Avoid kissing when you or the other person is sick.
- Avoid kissing anyone on the lips when you, or they, have an active cold sore, warts or ulcers around the lips or in the mouth.
- Brush, floss and keep up a good oral hygiene routine! Cough and sneeze into a tissue, or your elbow if you have a cold.
- Vaccines are available to prevent some infectious diseases, like chickenpox, Hepatitis B and group C meningococcal infection (a type of bacteria that causes serious infections.)