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Kim’s Corner: Be Careful Who You Kiss!

Digging for information relative to oral health and associated topics, I was surprised to learn a single kiss had the potential of sharing over 500 different types of disease-causing germs and viruses. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), a professional association of more than 35,000 general dentists, “Not knowing who you are kissing could be as dangerous to your health as having multiple sexual partners,” says AGD spokesperson Connie White, DDS, GAGD.

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Although, I think my smooching days are more limited than in my youth, I think it is only wise to warn others, before puckering up again, of some of the most common diseases and viruses that can be easily transmitted with a single kiss. “Any wound near the lips is most often caused by the herpes virus,” says Dr. White.

Visual signs such as cold sores, whether they appear as tiny, fluid-filled blisters or that have scabbed around the mouth and lips can be contagious. Less visual signs, such as when a person feels a cold or flu coming on can be easily transmitted too through contact with the saliva of the sick person; resulting in days or weeks of being sick. Yuck, who wants that!

Mononucleosis is known as the “kissing disease” which can be easily communicated to others through kissing, as well as sharing food, a cup, utensils or straws. This disease is more prone to students of all levels due to a lowered resistance and living in close quarters with other students.

I guess what I am telling you is avoid intimate contact or making out unless you know and trust the person you are kissing. If they really care about you, they will not want you to be sick and more importantly, they will wait until they too are perfectly healthy prior to getting their lips on you!

p.s. If you are in the mood, and you and your partner are perfectly healthy, stealing a few smooches may benefit your overall oral health by increasing saliva production. Saliva helps to wash away food particles and cavity-causing bacteria. It also protects teeth from decay by neutralizing harmful acids. So, if you and your partner are healthy, start kissing!

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