Kiss often, kiss wetly, it’s good for you, says Dutch microbe museum


Kissing is healthy, and the wetter the kiss, the healthier it is. That is the message of three videos brought out by Artis Micropia, which is dedicating a new exhibition to what is essentially an exchange of microbes.

In an effort to make microbes fun, the prize-winning museum has created a Science of Love route which has been open to the public since the end of last month. Micropia found that during a ten-second kiss as many as 80 million microbes change mouth.

According to microbiologist Jasper Buikx, who does guided tours at Micropia, that is a good thing. ‘An exchange of microbes strengthens the immune system,’ he told the NRC. ‘Ecosystems thrive on diversity and the human body is the same – the more microbe diversity the better.’

Microbes not only improve immunity, they also influence the choice of mate. ‘If your lover doesn’t taste nice you will not fall in love. He or she is not right for you,’ the paper quotes Buikx as saying.

Gut feeling

But the most important microbes, i.e. the ones that make people interesting to other people are situated in the gut.

‘We found out as recently as two or three years ago that many of our hormones are produced in the gut. Over half of our love and excitement inducing hormones dopamine and serotonin are made there. So our gut may very well determine who we fall in love with,’ Buikx told the paper.

Not all microbes are good news. Sexual transmitted diseases, like HPV, chlamydia and hiv are in the unwanted microbe exchange during sexual contact. But as far as kissing is concerned, Micropia advises to do it often and as wetly as possible.