What makes the entire world melt away, gives you butterflies in your stomach, and makes your heart giddy with desire? A kiss, of course!
“I love kissing my boyfriend,” says Krysten Ritter, actress and star of the sitcom Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23. “It connects you.” Kissing is what bonds people together — or if you’re a bad kisser, it’s what makes people run in the other direction. “During a lip-lock, the brain releases dopamine, which is responsible for feelings of desire and bonding,” says Dr. Yael Varnado, founder of Get Checked 4 Life, a nonprofit organization that provides access to health services for at-risk communities.
But there’s more to kissing than just a quick thrill and a little bonding with someone special. Kissing provides a range of health benefits, from increased metabolism to a longer life. “The chemicals released from a kiss heal not only physical but also emotional ‘boo-boos,’ and can keep you healthy and build up your immunity,” explains Dr. Varnado. It just goes to show you that the joys of kissing are more far-reaching than you think. Below, we list the biggest benefits from sharing a smooch with your sweetheart.
Benefit #1: Your pearly whites stay cleaner
Though it’s certainly no replacement for brushing your teeth, kissing can break down oral plaque and prevent cavities by stimulating the creation of saliva, which helps wash bacteria away from the tooth’s surface. “Kissing is nature’s cleansing process,” says Heidi Hausauer, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry. “Saliva washes out the mouth and helps remove the cavity-causing food particles that accumulate after meals.” The minerals in saliva also help rebuild tooth enamel, thereby preventing decay. So not only does kissing give you cleaner teeth, but you could actually end up saving money on your dental bills, too.
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