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Show: February 21, 2004:

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Medical Mystery: Health Benefits of Kissing

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Air date: February 21, 2004


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If you're feeling especially healthy since Valentine's Day, it probably isn't from the chocolate and candy hearts you consumed. However, it might be from kissing. What are the health benefits of kissing?



Kiss more, and kiss longer. That's what some researchers are advising as the health benefits of kissing are revealed.

Matthew Messina, DDS, a dentist and consumer advisor for the American Dental Association, says the extra saliva produced during kissing washes bacteria off your teeth, which can help break down oral plaque. Bryant Stamford, PhD, director of the health promotion center at the University of Louisville notes kissing can help you lose calories. "During a really, really passionate kiss," he says, "you might lose two calories a minute - double your metabolic rate." Others claim that kissing exercises the facial muscles.

Stress relief is another health benefit of kissing. Psychologist Joy Davidson, PhD, likens kissing to meditation. "It stops the buzz in your mind, it quells anxiety, and it heightens the experience of being present in the moment. It actually produces a lot of the physiological changes that meditation produces," she says. The fact that kissing leads to touching is also a good thing. Touching and massaging release oxytocin, a hormone known to have a calming effect on the body.

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