The Health Benefits of Kissing

While kissing has long been a form of social greeting in some cultures, it is primarily seen as a gesture of romantic love. The meeting of lips is one of the most tender ways one can bond with a partner. And yet the benefits of kissing extend far beyond its feel-good effects since puckering up for a beloved can actually boost your health too. Here are thus some health benefits of kissing which will encourage both you and your lover to get smooching ever so often.

Helps oral health

While you associated kissing with picking up a million germs from someone else, the act can actually be good for your own oral health. One of the advantages of a good wet one is that all the extra saliva washes bacteria off your teeth, which can help break down oral plaque, according to Mathew Messina, DDS, a private practice dentist in Fairview Park, Ohio, and consumer advisor for the American Dental Association1. This however does not mean that you should get kissing instead of brushing or flossing since there is no substitute for the basics of oral health.

Work out for facial muscles

A French Kiss usually evokes extreme reactions – some find it gross and hate it while lovers feel nothing can beat it as a turn-on. If you belong to the latter, now there is an added reason why you can bring your tongue into the picture. A serious bit of tongue tangling action, which is an essential part of a French kiss, would end up exercising all the underlying muscles of the face . And this could go a long way in keeping you looking younger, not to mention happier.

In fact kissing not only leads to a facial workout but may even help you lose weight by burning calories. In the course of a really passionate kiss, a lover may be burning two calories every minute which is roughly double the metabolic rate of the average person. When compared to the fact that jogging on the treadmill can help you lose 11.2 calories a minute, kissing seems a particularly enjoyable way to shed some excess calories. In fact should you happen to follow up your passionate liplock by some amorous action between the sheets, you would stand to lose even more weight. With things getting hot and heavy with your partner, you can expect to burn up to 200 calories during just a half-hour love-making session which is practically the same caloric expenditure as a brisk walk.

Eases tension

Kissing a partner leads to a welling up of positive motions like love, affection and trust – all of which are not only good for emotional health but have a beneficial impact on physical health too. Kissing implies that you are connecting with someone you care about and hence it produces a sense of well-being and a kind of full-bodied pleasure. Your stress levels go down, the busy and annoying buzz in your mind is silenced and you fully give in to the experience of being present in the moment. In all these ways, kissing actually leads to some of the stress-relieving, physiological changes that meditation produces.

Helps you known a potential mate

Kissing is one of the most pleasurable form of getting to know a person – how he/she looks from closer range, how they touch, smell, taste, sound and what all this tells about their health status. In all these ways, kissing not only helps you connect with a lover, but learn a great deal about the intentions of a potential mate. This significance of this function of kissing is best understood in the evolutionary context. The sensors of the lips were absolutely crucial to the survival of our ancestors - these directed a baby toward milk and they helped primitive humans  -- for millions of years -- to discern whether their food was poisonous or not. In this way kissing and this form sensual enquiry continues to be essential to human emotional health and survival as the messages picked up from kissing someone could hold important clues about the physical health or capacity for emotional bonding of the partner.

Energizes you

Apart from being the most delicious form of sensual inquiry, kissing at the beginning of a relationship also exemplifies the euphoria of a new love. That rush that one feels when kissing a partner for the first time is probably due to the release of two natural stimulants -- dopamine and norepinephrine. These are typically activated when one gets into a novel situation. Among the positive effects of dopamine and norepinephrine are more energy, feeling of positivity and that high that addicts often seek through drugs. In all these ways kissing can help you feel elated without succumbing to the addictive or damaging results of drugs.

Kissing improves bonding

Even though romantic kissing has been associated more with hormones like dopamine and norepinephrine, new evidence is forthcoming that kissing, especially when part of sexual foreplay also releases oxytocin in the body. Several studies point towards the relation between oxytocin and sexual arousal among both men and women on grounds that sexual orgasm and increased levels of oxytocin in the body seem to go hand in hand. One of these studies conducted by W. Blaicher et al in 1999, titled "The role of oxytocin in relation to female sexual arousal" and published in Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation 47 (2) suggested that oxytocin serves an important role in sexual arousal and fulfillment. The release of oxytocin as one of the beneficial effects of kissing gains prominence in light of the fact that the hormone helps in bonding between partners. Popularly known as the’ cuddle hormone’, oxytocin has already been proven to stimulate the let-down reflex in lactating mothers and thus facilitates breastfeeding which in turn is a powerful bonding tool between mother and infant. In the context of romantic relationships too, oxytocin may play a role in strengthening the bond between partners, especially when released as an effect of kissing, nibbling or sucking of the female breast by the male partner. This is because one of most powerful releases of oxytocin is stimulation of the nipples – no wonder then that humans are the only species that includes nipple stimulation in lovemaking.

So whether performed on the lips or more erogenous zones, kissing has a wide range of benefits – both for the human body as well as the relationship.

References:

  1. WebMd - What's So Great About Kissing?