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Kissing Bacteria: Can Kissing Make You Sick?

While kissing is a way we show our love for someone, it can also pose risks. In fact, viruses and bacteria in the blood or saliva of a person may be passed via kissing another individual.

Learning more about how oral health issues are spread and how to prevent infections when kissing is important.

How are oral health problems transmitted?Smile

Oral ailments and diseases can be transmitted from one person to another in several ways, including:

Airborne Spread

Germs from the throat and nose can linger in the air for a long period of time due to their small composition. These are referred to as droplet nuclei and can be directly inhaled by another individual.

Droplet Spread

Droplets from the throat and nose (e.g., from sneezing) typically travel a distance of one meter before dropping onto a surface. Infection emerges when a person comes in contact with the object or surface containing these droplets and then touch their nose, eyes, or mouth. Infection or illness from droplets can also be spread via inhalation.

Contact Spread

A few ailments can transfer directly from one person to another through direct contact. For instance, this might include kissing, hugging, or being within close quarters of the sick person or the objects they have come in contact with.

Below are some of the viruses that can transfer through kissing:

Glandular Fever

This is the general term for a viral infection is infectious mononucleosis. Glandular fever is usually a result of the virus Epstein-Barr. Specifically, the virus can transfer through saliva.


Also known as upper respiratory tract infections, colds often start with a virus. Thus, one can come in contact with a cold through the exposure of the relevant virus via direct contact with someone else’s mucous, fluids, or airborne droplets.

Warts or acne

Warts or acne in or around the mouth can transfer via kissing. This is especially true it a wart or pimple is wounded. Blood, oil, pus, or bacteria or are typically to blame for this transfer. Receiving topical treatment might be necessary in some cases.

Hepatitis B

A person is more prone to Hepatitis B if open sores in or around the mouth are present as they kiss an individual with the infection.

Herpes infection

This virus can be spread through direct contact and when blisters are forming or when they have erupted.

What should one do to prevent infection while kissing?

There are several things one can do to minimize the risk of catching or passing an infection while kissing his/her partner.

Consider the following:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene.
  • Avoid kissing when you or your partner are sick.
  • Refrain from kissing anyone on the lips if they have warts, acne, cold sores, or ulcers in or around the mouth.
  • It is advisable to visit your doctor and discuss vaccinations. Vaccinations are available to prevent some infectious ailments like group C meningococcal infection, hepatitis B, and chickenpox. Dentists and orthodontists also usually have creams or ointments for cold sores and oral cuts. If they don’t have the latter on hand, ask for possible recommendations.

All in all, it is imperative to consider the latter tips regarding practicing good oral and physical health. While it can be alarming what the spread of viruses and bacteria can do, it doesn’t mean you have to stop kissing others altogether. Instead, this is a call to action to prevent yourself and others from getting sick via the correct means.

That said, with more knowledge in your cognitive database and more steps toward maintaining good oral health…kiss away with caution!

Disclaimer: The oral health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. Hawaii Family Dental strongly recommends to consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.

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