Eating right, getting enough exercise, meditating, disconnecting from your smartphone — they’re all great ways to keep happy and healthy. But there’s an important one you might be overlooking. Did you know that kissing with your partner can have real, positive effects on your health?
It’s true. A kiss might just be one of the most fun ways to keep the doctor away and stay in tip-top shape. So how is it that there are benefits of kissing, which some cultures don’t even engage in? Get cozy and learn why puckering up is one of the most fun ways to do your body good.
Why a Kiss Isn’t Just a Kiss: 5 Healthy Benefits of Kissing
1. Kissing boosts endorphins
Sure, the rush of kissing someone you’re interested in might make you feel tingly all over. But it’s also a chemical reaction — the good kind. Smooching releases endorphins, your brain’s natural feel-good chemicals that are released after a solid workout or a “runner’s high” and combat stress and depression.
Kissing also works as a stress reliever, lifting spirits when they’re down in the dumps. So the next time you’re in a bad mood or had a rough day at work, grab that guy or gal and plant one on ’em to feel better.
2. Kissing fights cavities
It might not be the sexiest benefit on this list but if going to the dentist freaks you out, kissing might be the answer. That’s because when you’re locking lips, your mouth increases its saliva production, which helps clean the mouth and remove cavity-causing particles that linger after eating or drinking.
While you should continue brushing and flossing regularly (nothing stops a good kiss like bad breath), a good makeout session is a lot more fun than gargling.
3. Kissing helps you feel connected
Not only does kissing help you feel happier, it can also help you relax and feel closer to your partner. When you go in for a kiss, your brain increases its oxytocin levels.
This hormone has a calming effect and promotes trust and bonding between humans. Levels of the hormone also drive up during breastfeeding and sex, two of the most intimate acts there are between people. Several studies have also found higher levels of oxytocin in couples are associated with relationship longevity, empathy and support. (1)
So while a lot of emphasis is placed on couples keeping things spicy between the sheets, don’t neglect the potential PG affection has to offer.
4. Kissing increases immunity
An intense kiss lasting longer than 10 seconds transfers about 80 million bacteria — how’s that for romance? (2) Luckily, this exchange is actually beneficial. When you swap spit with someone, you’re introduced to “new” bacteria that your immune system will develop antibodies for, protecting you from getting sick.
The more couples kiss, the likelier it is that they have similar saliva microbes, meaning kissing can actually change the types of bacteria living in our mouths. (3)
5. Kissing burns calories and reduces cholesterol
Passionately kissing can burn about 5–8 calories a minute. While it won’t replace a workout, it’s better than nothing — and it’s a lot more fun than hitting the elliptical!
Interestingly, kissing might also lower cholesterol levels. One study tracked couples who lived together over six weeks. Half of the couples were asked to kiss more frequently than normal, even if setting up a specific time to smooch was necessary. After the six-week period, the couples who kissed more reported lower levels of stress, higher levels of relationship satisfaction and reduced cholesterol levels. (4)
So while diet and exercise are usually suggested to lower cholesterol, it might be time to add kissing to that list, too. Grab a loved one and start reaping these healthy kissing benefits right away!