Knowing a potential significant other’s sexually transmitted disease status is mandatory these days. But is there, even more, to be concerned about?
It seems as though before you even kiss goodnight, you may want to check your date’s dental records. Studies show that cavities and gum disease are contagious—and can be transmitted through swapping spit, just like colds and flu. In fact, some experts estimate that up to 500 different germs can be transmitted in a single kiss.
Saliva and the mouth are full of viruses and bacteria, including some that cause cavities and gum disease. Kissing a partner who is actively infected with gum disease or cavity-causing bacteria can cause a person who previously had a low concentration of these bacteria to ‘catch’ problems, due to the extra dose of bacteria from kissing—particularly if that person has poor oral habits that set the stage for tooth decay.
In a dental care article published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, it was revealed that periodontitis might be passed from parents to children and between intimate partners.
The bacteria that inhabit the periodontal pockets are also present on the oral soft tissues, teeth, tongue and saliva. They can be transferred from one person to another through saliva, intimate kissing, sharing of food, utensils, or toothbrushes, and can result in exposure to saliva that contains the bacteria that cause periodontal disease.
Oral herpes is most commonly referred to as “cold sores” or “fever blisters.” It’s transmitted through direct contact between an infected area and broken skin or a mucous membrane. More than 50 percent of the U.S. adult population has oral herpes, but symptoms aren’t always visible.
Unfortunately, once you contract the virus, it stays with you forever. Additionally, oral herpes, caused by the herpes simplex type 1 strain, can cause genital herpes. Experts estimate that over 20 percent of new genital herpes cases are caused by herpes simplex type 1 transmitted through oral sex.
Syphilis is a highly infectious condition. The sores, which are usually round and open, combine to make syphilis transmissible through kissing. Kissing isn’t the most common way to transmit syphilis—oral, anal, and vaginal sex still rank higher. But syphilis rates are currently on the rise, according to the