What’s in a kiss? Arifa Sultana

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  Posted by: Dental Design      2nd June 2018


Little pecks, double cheekers, air kisses, long and lingering smooches – there are a wide variety of kisses. Some communicate respect, friendship, gratitude and greetings while others are close and intimate, reserved for our most beloved.  

In British culture, intimate, romantic kissing is widely accepted and appreciated. However, this is not humanly universal, in fact, only 46 percent of cultures worldwide are known to kiss romantically. In some societies, mouth to mouth contact is frowned upon whilst in others, couples do not kiss but engage in close face-to-face contact that may involve sniffing, rubbing or licking.[i]It appears that a kiss can take many forms but primarily they all express the same sentiments of warmth, love and reverence and play to our inborn determination to connect with others.

Romantic kissing may not have been very common in the past but it has definitely accelerated over time. According to a recent survey young lovers in the 18-24 age group ‘make out’ 11 times a week but also, 5 percent of those over 45 years old have more than 31 passionate kisses a week.iResearch conducted over the last decade also suggests that kissing serves as a useful ‘mate-assessment’ function and an initial kiss is likely to affect a person’s attraction and help them to detect the suitability of a potential mate. Furthermore, it has been revealed that kissing is important in long term relationships as the frequency of kissing has been found to correlate strongly with relationship satisfaction.[ii]

As we know, humans kiss for pleasure, to strengthen feelings but there are also other notable benefits. For instance, kissing releases chemicals linked to bonding and sexual desire but also there is evidence to suggest that physically affectionate interaction such as hand holding, cuddling and kissing may help to decrease blood pressure, lower cholesterol and reduce in the stress hormone cortisol.[iii]Similarly, kissing stimulates the release of adrenaline to make the body feel more alert and ready for action but some scientists also believe that the exchange of salivary microbiota could help to boost the immune system.[iv]Certainly, kissing promotes the production of saliva which as dental professionals are aware, not only keeps the mouth moist and comfortable it contains minerals and proteins to protect the teeth and prevent decay and oral disease.Recently too, saliva was identified as a key factor in wound healing,[v]indeed cuts in the mouth can heal quickly, but this might also be the reason why some animals lick their wounds and could explain why parents kiss children better, in an attempt to boost recovery.

National Kissing Day falls on 23rdof June 2018 to encourage everyone to appreciate a kiss and to spread a little love. Nevertheless, there is nothing worse than leaning in and puckering up only to be repelled by a nasty smell. Certainly, oral malodour is something that many patients fear, whether it is justified or not, which is hardly surprising as 75 percent of people would be put off from dating a person again if they have unpleasant smelling breath.[vi]One of the ways that dental professionals can help is to recommend CB12 mouthwash. Used as part of a daily oral health routine, CB12 helps to rinse away food debris and ensures pleasant smelling breath with long lasting effects. CB12 has a clinically proven formula that contains active ingredients which not only target and neutralise foul smelling oral gases instantly but also carry on working to maintain fresh breath for up to 12 hours. It also contains fluoride and an anti-plaque agent to strengthen the teeth and enhance oral health, and most poignantly, with the reassurance of first class breath, patients can get up close and kiss with confidence.

Kissing may simply be instinctive – an early primal mechanism for bonding that derives from grooming or it may have evolved from what is known as ‘kiss feeding’ where mothers passed chewed food to their babies’ mouths.  Anthropologists are divided, but a kiss communicates love and affection and relates feelings such as gratitude and happiness. So why not get involved? – Encourage your patients to recognise National Kissing Day and further promote the positive benefits of pleasant breath and good oral health.

For more information about CB12 and how it could benefit your patients, visit www.cb12.co.uk





[i]Jankowiak W.R et al. Is the Romantic-Sexual Kiss a Near Human Universal? American Anthorpologist

2015.117 (3)535–539 10.1111/aman.12286 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/aman.12286/abstract?isReportingDone=false [Accessed 27thFebruary 2018]

[ii]Wlodarski R et al. Examining the possible functions of kissing in romantic relationships.Arch Sex Behav. 2013 Nov; 42(8):1415-23. doi: 10.1007/s10508-013-0190-1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24114390[Accessed 27th February 2013]

[iii]Boren J.P et al. Kissing in Marital and Cohabiting Relationships: Effects on blood lipids, stress and relationship satisfaction. Western Journal of Communication. 2009 73 (2) 113–133. https://scholarcommons.scu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=http://mentalfloss.com/article/501990/10-scientific-benefits-kissing&httpsredir=1&article=1008&context=comm[Accessed 27thFebruary 2018]

[iv]Kort R. et al. Shaping the oral microbiota through intimate kissing. Microbiome 2014 2 (41) https://doi.org/10.1186/2049-2618-2-41https://microbiomejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2049-2618-2-41[Accessed 27th February 2018]

[v]Torres P. et al. The salivary peptide histatin-1 promotes endothelial cell adhesion, migration, and angiogenesis. The FASEB Journal. Research Nov 2017. 31 (11). https://doi.org/10.1096/fj.201700085Ror http://www.fasebj.org/doi/full/10.1096/fj.201700085R[Accessed 27th February 2018]

[vi]Research carried out by Redshift Research on behalf of CB12 amongst 2,001 UK adults, April 2013.

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