How Kissing Has A Surprising Effect On Your Immune System

We're taught from a young age that kissing leads to cooties, but is that really such a bad thing? It may be surprising to learn, but these cooties, or germs, can actually benefit your immune system in a multitude of ways.

Helen Fisher, PhD, a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University, explains that the sharing of germs through kissing is actually beneficial since you're building on to your body's natural immune system (via WebMD). This is all thanks to what naturally occurs during a make-out session — swapping spit.

According to Better Health, your spit, or saliva, is full of substances that ward off bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These substances are your body's own naturally occurring bacteria and are responsible for your immune responses. When you kiss, it increases the flow of saliva, which establishes similar bacteria in you and your partner's bodies. The more shared bacteria, the easier it is to fight off similar infections (via Men's Journal). A ten-second kiss can actually contain and transfer an average of 80 million bacteria! (via Microbiome Journal).

Don't stress! Kissing improves your immune system in many ways

While fighting off infection is a plus, there are other ways the immune system can benefit from a smooch. A common autoimmune response that many people suffer from is allergies. Whether it's from pollen or dust mites, studies show that kissing for 30 minutes can subside the effects of hives or other allergic reactions brought on by these allergens (via Science Direct).

And although it's certainly not time to throw away your toothbrush, kissing can also lead to a cleaner and healthier mouth. The saliva produced from kissing can actually get rid of harmful bacteria that may be attached to your teeth (via Everyday Health). So if you're trying to prevent tooth decay or lower your cavity count, kissing may be a nice addition to your flossing regimen. 

According to Insider, stress on the body makes you much more susceptible to getting sick since it suppresses your immune system. One way to naturally lower the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body is, you guessed it, kissing! The act of kissing stimulates the brain to set off natural chemicals that make you feel less stressed (via Healthline). Less stress equals an immune system that's ready to go off to battle for you, which might explain why your favorite game in middle school was seven minutes in heaven.