Learn why it’s healthy to pucker up
Kissing, scientifically known as osculation, is something we do for all sorts of reasons. We pucker up to say hello and goodbye, celebrate an achievement or to say “I love you” without saying anything at all.
But when you stop and think about it, kissing can be gross – strange even. Consider the puckered face you make or the transfer of saliva and 80 million bacteria – that can make your stomach queasy.
It may not seem very attractive, but kissing is a behavior deeply rooted in science. Research shows kissing offers a range of health benefits that may surprise you. Turns out locking lips increases your heart rate and improves blood circulation.
Other health benefits include:
- Improving your oral health from increased saliva flow and decreased bacterial growth.
- Elevating your mood with a rush of endorphins.
- Burning a few calories as your blood flow races which boosts metabolism.
- Releasing serotonin that soothes headache tension and menstrual cramps.
- Improving your immune system.
“Increased saliva production through behaviors such as kissing helps to break down plaque in the mouth and neutralize harmful acids that can cause tooth decay,” says Dr. Patricia Morales Valdes Brost, a primary care doctor at Aurora Health Care. “Good oral health is maintained with healthy saliva flow, as some organisms in your saliva can help decrease bacterial growth and even slow down plaque formation.”
What exactly happens when you kiss?
- Leading up to the smooch, the chemical norepinephrine is sparked, and you are now focused and alert.
- During the kiss, your lip sensitivities help dilate your blood vessels and send extra oxygen and pleasure cues to the brain.
- Oxytocin, or the love hormone, is released and fosters fuzzy feelings of desire and attachment.
- Serotonin is produced and forms a pleasurable memory.
Bottom line, kiss often – it’s good for you.
About the Author
Amber Thompson is a marketing graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. In her free time, Amber enjoys passion-filled projects including blogging and photography. Amber loves spending her free time reading journalistic columns, listening to motivational podcasts and discovering creative recipes to get her young son to eat his vegetables.