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Brushing Before Kissing Might Be a Good Idea For More Than One Reason

You’re probably used to thinking of STIs as something to protect yourself from, whether your preferred strategy is abstinence, safer sex, testing and monogamy, or a combination of them. But did you ever think of brushing your teeth?

When we eat food, particles of food get trapped and bacteria in the mouth feast on it, producing acid which damages teeth. That’s why brushing after eating, or even just rinsing your mouth out with water can help reduce your cavities. And according to an article from NYTimes.com, Streptococcus mutans (one of the prime cavity-causers) can be transmitted from mouth to mouth.

One way that this bacteria gets from one person to another is from cargiver to child, such as when a caregiver tastes food to make sure it isn’t too hot for an infant to eat. It can also be transmitted from one person to another, perhaps by sharing food. But I have to wonder how well it spreads through kissing.

A dentists interviewed in the NYTimes reported that:

“In one instance, a patient in her 40s who had never had a cavity suddenly developed two cavities and was starting to get some gum disease, she said. She learned the woman had started dating a man who hadn’t been to a dentist in 18 years and had gum disease.

A lot of people brush or use mouthwash before kissing, since they want to taste good. And since that would cut down on the bacteria and the acidity of their mouths, that would seem likely to help. And it just might be a good idea to do it afterward, too.

Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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