The Germy Perils of a French Kiss, Especially if You Are Short

Shorter partners take on even more germs because saliva travels downward.

— -- intro: There is perhaps nothing more romantic that a French kiss. Apparently there is also nothing more disgustingly filthy.

A new Dutch study published in the journal Microbiome found that swapping spit for about 10-seconds transfers up to 80 million bacteria between lovers. The shorter partner in the smooch may take on even more germs because, as the researchers helpfully noted, saliva travels downward.

The longer a couple stays together the more similar the microbes in their mouth become, the study found. And the more than 700 different species of bacteria that live and breed in the mouth are mostly healthy and beneficial.

However, if “sharing salivary microbiota” doesn’t sound like much of a turn on, consider these other ways of showing affection, along with their level of germiness.

quicklist: 2 category: Kiss Versus Handshake: Which Is Germier? title: Handshake url: text: Taking the mouth out of the equation does not rid personal contact of microorganisms. One small West Virginia University investigation published earlier this year found that handshakes can transport up to 124 million colony-forming units of e. coli bacteria -- and that's assuming clean hands. More bacteria changed hands with a firmer grip and longer squeeze. media: 27028774

quicklist: 3 category: Kiss Versus Handshake: Which Is Germier? title: High Five url: text: High fives transfer just a quarter of the germs of a handshake, the West Virginia researchers reported. Longer duration high fives don’t seem to increase germ transfer but a good smack that covers a lot of the hand’s surface area might. media: 27028721