The importance of kissing in relationships is well-documented. In fact, research shows that 59 percent of men and 66 percent of women have found themselves less attracted to a potential partner after a bad first kiss; further, Butler University’s John Bohannon surveyed 500 people and found that most people can remember up to 90 percent of the details of a first romantic kiss. That’s a lot of pressure during the early days of courtship, no?
Whether you refer to it as smooching, snogging, tonsil hockey, or making out, > are some crazy facts about kissing you likely never knew, from the surprising health benefits of locking lips to details on the first-ever kiss in film history.
Kissing can boost your immune system
According to a study from the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, a 10-second kiss transfers as many as 80 million bacteria between you and your partner. If the idea makes you want to run to the bathroom to brush your teeth, hold on a moment.
As it turns out, germ exposure can provide a healthy boost to your immune system. “Swapping spit means swapping germs, and that is nature’s natural form of vaccination,” Dr. Yael Varnado, founder of Get Checked 4 Life (a nonprofit organization that provides access to health services for at-risk communities) told Match.com. “Being exposed to others’ germs causes your body to make antibodies against those germs, which can in turn lead to immunity and prevent illness.”
One caveat: Make sure your partner isn’t already sick before you pucker up.
The Guinness World Record for kissing
Think back to the beginning of a relationship, when the butterflies of new attraction meant you could kiss for hours without taking a break. But even the longest of make-out sessions in early courtship can’t compare to the Guinness World Record for longest continuous kiss, set during a 2013 competition in Thailand.
After 58 hours, 35 minutes, and 58 seconds, Ekkachai and Laksana Tiranarat were the last couple standing, winning more than $9,000 in cash and prizes. We don’t know about you, but we have all sorts of questions for the Tiranarats: How much lip balm did they use? Were they allowed to take bathroom breaks? What about naps, not to mention food or even breath mints? Regardless, their achievement is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Kissing can improve your dental health
Dr. Sivan Finkel, who specializes in aesthetic and general dentistry at the Dental Parlour in New York City, told me that increased saliva production generated . kissing can be a boon to your oral health. “Kissing stimulates our salivary glands, and saliva helps buffer the acidity of the oral environment,” Finkel said. “Dental decay is caused . acidic .-products formed when oral bacteria break down carbohydrates. Saliva is relatively basic, so an increase in saliva helps our teeth resist this acidic attack and re-mineralize.”
However, Finkel cautioned against locking lips with anyone who doesn’t brush or floss their teeth as often as they should.
“The double-edged sword [is that] harmful, cavity-causing bacteria are also transferred via kissing, as are some of the bacteria responsible for gum disease,” he said. “So if the person you are kissing has poor oral hygiene — bad breath should be a warning sign! — beware.”
The first kiss in film history
The first kiss in film history was a reenactment of a scene between stage actors May Irwin and John Rice from their Broadway comedy The Widow Jones. Filmed at Thomas Edison’s Black Maria studio in New Jersey, The Kiss was released in 1896, a time when kissing in public was “greatly frowned upon” . Victorian society, according to Brain Pickings. The aptly named 23-second clip was banned from public viewing in many areas, and even led the Catholic Church to call for censorship and so-called “moral reform.”
These days, kissing is one of the more chaste acts of love depicted on the silver screen. (Hello, Fifty Shades of Grey!)
Kissing floods your brain with feel-good chemicals
The main benefit of kissing to your physical health and wellness is the release of oxytocin and dopamine, said Kaity Rodriguez, a licensed clinical social worker based in New Jersey. “Oxytocin is the bonding hormone that is also released when mothers nurse their babies, during s*x, and even cuddling,” Rodriguez told me. “It makes you feel closer [and] more intimately attached to the individual.”
Dopamine, on the other hand, is the “feel-good hormone,” which helps you experience pleasure and makes you want more, Rodriguez said. Dopamine is responsible for regulating mood, behavior, sleep, and cognition, while also helping with decision-making and creativity.