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Would You Take a Smooch Over a Shot to Stay Healthy?

Short & Sweet

A recent study found that a 10-second French kiss could spread 80 million bacteria between the two mouths involved, proving that kissing various partners might serve as a form of immunization from kissing germs. This explains why I wasn't sick a day in my 20s.

The Lowdown

Remco Kort, a professor and scientist at Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, asked couples visiting a zoo in the Netherlands to participate in his study on the French kiss. Twenty-one couples agreed to have their tongues swabbed and saliva collected, before and after a French kiss.

Not surprisingly, the bacteria on the tongues of couples were more similar than the bacteria in the mouths of two strangers, sort of like how couples start to look alike. I guess after years of swapping spit, you pick up a thing or two.

It was also discovered that the more often a couple kisses, the more similar bacteria they share. Therefore, the larger variety of people you kiss, the more various types of bacteria you are exposed to, which means kissing can act as a type of immunization. You build up resistance from exposing yourself to more microorganisms. Let's be honest, I'd rather enjoy a friendly French kiss over getting a shot any day of the week. Wouldn't you?

The Upshot

If you want to learn what kind of bacterial kisser you are, you can try out Kort's "Kiss-o-meter" at the Micropia in Amsterdam, which is a new museum of microbes. The "Kiss-o-meter" will rate your kiss on a scale from "dry, prudent kiss," which transfers a paltry 1,000 bacteria, to a "hot" one, which spreads millions of bacteria. You can even get a printout of the microorganisms you've exchanged.

If you're single, you could try kissing as many people as you can and see if it keeps you healthy this winter. There's never been better scientific proof for kissing strangers in the night.

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