In case you needed a perfectly good excuse to smooch the one you love, do it for your health. Seriously.
Kissing boasts multiple wellness perks. Not only that, the act itself is built entirely on social connection — a crucial component of your health and happiness. With so many benefits, who wouldn’t want to plant one on somebody?
Check out some of the ways locking lips can boost your health below. Pucker up!
There’s a reason a kiss is called a “wet one” — smooching stimulates saliva production, which can actually wash harmful bacteria off the teeth, dentist Mathew Messina told WebMD. It can also reduce plaque buildup, Glamour reported.
Okay, so we’re not talking the equivalent of a trip to the gym, but hey, every little bit counts, right? Locking lips can burn anywhere from two to six calories a minute, according to Self. Score.
There’s no denying the fact that when you lock lips, there are bound to be some germs, um, exchanged. One specific bug, called the cytomegalovirus, can be particularly hazardous to pregnant women. However, researchers believe kissing is a way to introduce the virus to a woman in small doses before she conceives, triggering her body to build up a resistance to it before she could ever pass it on to a child, according to Popular Science.
However, if your partner in crime is visibly ill, it’s still a good idea to hold off on that kiss, as it’s still an easy way to catch mono, strep throat and herpes, among other things.
That post-kiss feeling of relaxation isn’t all in your head. A small 2009 study measured levels of the bonding hormone oxytocin and the stress hormone cortisolin pairs of kissing college students. The AP reports that both men and women experienced a decline in cortisol, a sign of relaxation, that was much greater than when they just held hands.
If those sniffles are due to seasonal allergies and not something contagious, it may be a good idea to go through with the smooch. A small Japanese study found that couples who kissed for 30 minutes had lower levels of allergen-specific IgE, the proteins that trigger pesky symptoms like sneezing and sniffling.