By Stephanie Stahl

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A kiss is just a kiss – unless you’re worried about germs. A new study was released Monday that says an intimate kiss is actually loaded with bacteria.  The research was conducted at the Kiss-O-Meter at the Micropia Museum in Amsterdam where germs take center stage.  The museum director Haig Balian says, “I wanted to show them they were part of nature, that nature was in them.”

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For the study, Dutch scientists looked at 21 couples and measured how many microbes were exchanged when they kissed.  The researcher Remco Kort says, “In a single kiss, of ten seconds, 80 million bacteria are transferred on average from one person to the other one.”  For the research, scientists took samples from the mouths of couples before and after they kissed.  And one partner had a yogurt drink that contained bacteria not usually found in the mouth.  “By doing that, we could make an estimate of how many bacteria were transferred from one person to another, Kort explained.

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Scientists say the mouth is home to 700 different kinds of bacteria. The research found the more couples kissed – at least nine times a day – the more likely they were to have similar colonies of micro-organisms in their saliva.

Doctors say unless you have a lot of cavities, the bacteria in your mouth isn’t dangerous and it can in some cases improve the immune system.

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Stephanie Stahl