Kissing reduces chance of cavities

Kissing, of all things, has been linked to the prevention of tooth decay, because it stimulates saliva, which helps reduce the incidence of cavities.

“Kissing is nature’s cleansing process,” explains Heidi K. Hausauer, DDS, FAGD, spokesperson from the Academy of General Dentistry. “Saliva washes out the mouth and helps remove the cavity-causing food particles that accumulate after meals.”

During moments of increased saliva stimulation, a person can produce up to a half teaspoon of saliva per minute, and throughout the day, produce up to four cups of saliva.

More than a good night kiss is needed to protect teeth. “When you sleep, the flow of saliva slows down,” says Dr. Hausauer. “It’s important to remove plaque by always brushing and flossing before going to bed.”

No one to kiss? Chew sugarfree gum – it can produce three times the regular amount of saliva.

The skinny on saliva:
  • Saliva is made up of water, proteins, electrolytes and mineral salts
  • Your body produces saliva on 24-hour rhythm cycle, and can generate up to four cups of saliva per day
  • During periods of saliva stimulation, a person can produce up to a half teaspoon of saliva per minute
  • Saliva levels are higher when standing or laying than when sitting
  • Your salivation rate is higher in winter than in summer and higher in the morning than afternoon
  • Its mineral ions helps remineralize early lesions in tooth enamel
  • Chewing sugar-free gum can increase saliva flow by three times
  • Sugar, salt, bitter and acid tasting foods produce the highest saliva flow
  • Anxiety levels and thoughts of food effect the saliva flow rhythm
  • Couples often possess similar dental habits. A person with clear dental neglect is 32 times more likely to have a partner with clear neglect. Likewise, a person without neglect is 5.4 times more likely to have a comparable partner. People may select spouses with some parallel dental behavior or develop the same dental characteristics over a time period.

Source: Dentalnotes, Dec. 1996