Is there anything sweeter than a smooch with your significant other? For centuries, couples have been locking lips to express their love. But kissing can do more than boost your bond and spark a physical connection: It can also lead to some major health benefits. Read on to learn how puckering up can help reduce stress, ease aches and pains, and more.
1. Kissing May Reduce Allergy Symptoms
Want to nix the itchy eyes and runny nose this allergy season? You may want to ditch your over-the-counter fix and go in for a kiss instead. A study published in 2006 in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research showed that locking lips with your partner for 30 minutes can reduce allergy symptoms in people with atopic eczema and mild seasonal allergies.
2. More Cuddling Can Ease Aches and Pains
A little PDA might speed up recovery time for that backache. Research published in 2015 in Current Pharmaceutical Design shows that oxytocin (the cuddle hormone), which is released when you kiss and hug your partner, can ease chronic pain. Researchers note that oxytocin has analgesic (painkilling) properties, as well as the ability to decrease anxiety and depression, which is often experienced by chronic pain sufferers.
3. Kissing Helps Lower Stress
There’s a reason snuggling up to your partner after a bad day feels so good: Smooching has been shown to lower levels of cortisol, a chemical associated with stress.
4. Smooching May Help Keep Your Mouth Clean
It’s not a replacement for a good brushing, but according to some experts, locking lips may help prevent tooth decay. “Kissing stimulates saliva production, which washes harmful bacteria off your teeth, lowering the risk of plaque buildup,” explains Joshua Perlman, DMD, a dentist in New York City. And less plaque buildup may mean fewer cavities.
5. Locking Lips Can Help You Pick the Right Partner
Research published in 2007 in Evolutionary Psychology shows that kissing may help you assess a mate. When you kiss, you exchange information related to your major histocompatibility complex (MHC), which is a collection of genes associated with your immune system. The goal is to find a mate who has a different immune system from yours (to enhance your offspring’s chance of survival), and kissing can be a good indicator of whether or not your bloodline is too similar.
6. Kissing, Hugging, or Simply Touching Can Reignite a Stalled Sex Life
If sex has taken a backseat to babies or household chores, any sort of physical connection — from kissing to holding hands — can work wonders to heat things up with your partner again, says Ellen Barnard, a sex educator and counselor in Madison, Wisconsin.