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Shaping the oral microbiota through intimate kissing.

Kort R, Caspers M, van de Graaf A, van Egmond W, Keijser B, Roeselers G - Microbiome (2014)

Bottom Line: The variation of microbial communities associated with the human body can be the cause of many factors, including the human genetic makeup, diet, age, surroundings, and sexual behavior.In control experiments for bacterial transfer, we identified the probiotic Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium marker bacteria in most kiss receivers, corresponding to an average total bacterial transfer of 80 million bacteria per intimate kiss of 10 s.Furthermore, our findings imply that some of the collective bacteria among partners are only transiently present, while others have found a true niche on the tongue's surface allowing long-term colonization.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: TNO Microbiology and Systems Biology, Utrechtseweg 48, 3704 HE Zeist, The Netherlands ; Micropia, Natura Artis Magistra, Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 1018 CZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands ; VU University Amsterdam, Molecular Cell Physiology, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

ABSTRACT

Background: The variation of microbial communities associated with the human body can be the cause of many factors, including the human genetic makeup, diet, age, surroundings, and sexual behavior. In this study, we investigated the effects of intimate kissing on the oral microbiota of 21 couples by self-administered questionnaires about their past kissing behavior and by the evaluation of tongue and salivary microbiota samples in a controlled kissing experiment. In addition, we quantified the number of bacteria exchanged during intimate kissing by the use of marker bacteria introduced through the intake of a probiotic yoghurt drink by one of the partners prior to a second intimate kiss.

Results: Similarity indices of microbial communities show that average partners have a more similar oral microbiota composition compared to unrelated individuals, with by far most pronounced similarity for communities associated with the tongue surface. An intimate kiss did not lead to a significant additional increase of the average similarity of the oral microbiota between partners. However, clear correlations were observed between the similarity indices of the salivary microbiota of couples and self-reported kiss frequencies, and the reported time passed after the latest kiss. In control experiments for bacterial transfer, we identified the probiotic Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium marker bacteria in most kiss receivers, corresponding to an average total bacterial transfer of 80 million bacteria per intimate kiss of 10 s.

Conclusions: This study indicates that a shared salivary microbiota requires a frequent and recent bacterial exchange and is therefore most pronounced in couples with relatively high intimate kiss frequencies. The microbiota on the dorsal surface of the tongue is more similar among partners than unrelated individuals, but its similarity does not clearly correlate to kissing behavior, suggesting an important role for specific selection mechanisms resulting from a shared lifestyle, environment, or genetic factors from the host. Furthermore, our findings imply that some of the collective bacteria among partners are only transiently present, while others have found a true niche on the tongue's surface allowing long-term colonization.

No MeSH data available.


Correlations between microbiota similarity and intimate kiss history. Correlation between the Morisita-Horn dissimilarity index of the salivary microbiota from couple members and (A) self-reported kiss frequencies or (B) self-reported time after the latest kiss.
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Figure 3: Correlations between microbiota similarity and intimate kiss history. Correlation between the Morisita-Horn dissimilarity index of the salivary microbiota from couple members and (A) self-reported kiss frequencies or (B) self-reported time after the latest kiss.

Mentions: The dissimilarity indices were plotted as a function of the average self-reported kiss frequencies by males and females of the same couple (Figure 3A). We fitted the data with a linear regression model (R-squared =0.82). The data clearly shows that the salivary microbiota becomes more similar when couples intimately kiss at relatively high frequencies. The linear fit of the data indicates that frequencies of at least 9 kisses per day are required in order to obtain an MH index <0.5. The tongue microbiota does not show a significant correlation with intimate kissing frequency (Additional file 3), in agreement with a transient salivary microbiota and a more permanent tongue microbiota. After a single intimate kiss, we did not observe a significant effect on the similarity of the salivary and the tongue microbiota. This is confirmed in plots of similarity indices of all couples (Additional file 3); we only observed a more similar salivary microbiota in a limited number of couples. In agreement with the data that indicate that a relatively large number of kisses is required to substantially equilibrate the salivary microbiota (at least nine per day), the effect of a single intimate kiss is limited.


Shaping the oral microbiota through intimate kissing.

Kort R, Caspers M, van de Graaf A, van Egmond W, Keijser B, Roeselers G - Microbiome (2014)

Correlations between microbiota similarity and intimate kiss history. Correlation between the Morisita-Horn dissimilarity index of the salivary microbiota from couple members and (A) self-reported kiss frequencies or (B) self-reported time after the latest kiss.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4233210&req=5

Figure 3: Correlations between microbiota similarity and intimate kiss history. Correlation between the Morisita-Horn dissimilarity index of the salivary microbiota from couple members and (A) self-reported kiss frequencies or (B) self-reported time after the latest kiss.
Mentions: The dissimilarity indices were plotted as a function of the average self-reported kiss frequencies by males and females of the same couple (Figure 3A). We fitted the data with a linear regression model (R-squared =0.82). The data clearly shows that the salivary microbiota becomes more similar when couples intimately kiss at relatively high frequencies. The linear fit of the data indicates that frequencies of at least 9 kisses per day are required in order to obtain an MH index <0.5. The tongue microbiota does not show a significant correlation with intimate kissing frequency (Additional file 3), in agreement with a transient salivary microbiota and a more permanent tongue microbiota. After a single intimate kiss, we did not observe a significant effect on the similarity of the salivary and the tongue microbiota. This is confirmed in plots of similarity indices of all couples (Additional file 3); we only observed a more similar salivary microbiota in a limited number of couples. In agreement with the data that indicate that a relatively large number of kisses is required to substantially equilibrate the salivary microbiota (at least nine per day), the effect of a single intimate kiss is limited.

Bottom Line: The variation of microbial communities associated with the human body can be the cause of many factors, including the human genetic makeup, diet, age, surroundings, and sexual behavior.In control experiments for bacterial transfer, we identified the probiotic Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium marker bacteria in most kiss receivers, corresponding to an average total bacterial transfer of 80 million bacteria per intimate kiss of 10 s.Furthermore, our findings imply that some of the collective bacteria among partners are only transiently present, while others have found a true niche on the tongue's surface allowing long-term colonization.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: TNO Microbiology and Systems Biology, Utrechtseweg 48, 3704 HE Zeist, The Netherlands ; Micropia, Natura Artis Magistra, Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 1018 CZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands ; VU University Amsterdam, Molecular Cell Physiology, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

ABSTRACT

Background: The variation of microbial communities associated with the human body can be the cause of many factors, including the human genetic makeup, diet, age, surroundings, and sexual behavior. In this study, we investigated the effects of intimate kissing on the oral microbiota of 21 couples by self-administered questionnaires about their past kissing behavior and by the evaluation of tongue and salivary microbiota samples in a controlled kissing experiment. In addition, we quantified the number of bacteria exchanged during intimate kissing by the use of marker bacteria introduced through the intake of a probiotic yoghurt drink by one of the partners prior to a second intimate kiss.

Results: Similarity indices of microbial communities show that average partners have a more similar oral microbiota composition compared to unrelated individuals, with by far most pronounced similarity for communities associated with the tongue surface. An intimate kiss did not lead to a significant additional increase of the average similarity of the oral microbiota between partners. However, clear correlations were observed between the similarity indices of the salivary microbiota of couples and self-reported kiss frequencies, and the reported time passed after the latest kiss. In control experiments for bacterial transfer, we identified the probiotic Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium marker bacteria in most kiss receivers, corresponding to an average total bacterial transfer of 80 million bacteria per intimate kiss of 10 s.

Conclusions: This study indicates that a shared salivary microbiota requires a frequent and recent bacterial exchange and is therefore most pronounced in couples with relatively high intimate kiss frequencies. The microbiota on the dorsal surface of the tongue is more similar among partners than unrelated individuals, but its similarity does not clearly correlate to kissing behavior, suggesting an important role for specific selection mechanisms resulting from a shared lifestyle, environment, or genetic factors from the host. Furthermore, our findings imply that some of the collective bacteria among partners are only transiently present, while others have found a true niche on the tongue's surface allowing long-term colonization.

No MeSH data available.