February 14, 2018 Why “Kissing and Telling” May Help Avoid Allergic Food Reactions Did you know that your kiss as well as saliva shared might trigger allergic reactions in those individuals who have certain food sensitivities? Studies show that between 5 and 12 percent of food-allergic individuals will experience a reaction from kissing. Understanding the facts about you and your partner’s or children’s allergies and how substances are transmitted orally could save lives. In a 2003 Mayo Clinic journal, it was reported a 20 year-old woman and her boyfriend exchanged a kiss causing her to immediately experience allergic symptoms. These began with a slight tingling of the lips and ended with a severe case of anaphylaxis, or acute allergic reaction requiring use of epinephrine to keep her airway from closing. Tracing the events of the day prior to the kiss, the emergency room staff attempted to uncover the reason for the onset of symptoms. Knowing the woman was allergic to shrimp, they determined the boyfriend had eaten shrimp an hour before the kiss and apparently his saliva that transferred to her lips was the culprit. To make this association between kissing and an allergic reaction even stronger, in 2002, the New England Journal of Medicine spotlighted another similar case. In this report, a mother kissed her son’s cheek immediately following eating split pea soup causing his anaphylactic reaction. Can Brushing Your Teeth Help? The short answer is no. When these and additional studies were scrutinized, it was found that merely brushing your teeth doesn’t stop the transfer of the food substance. Why is this? The reason is that our food contains proteins that can be left in our mouths and saliva even after brushing. By kissing on cheeks, lips or delivering a “French kiss”, these proteins can be shared with the lips of your partner or on cheek of your child. How to Avoid Transmitting Allergens It is best to notify your family and partner concerning all food related allergens and avoid the known sources of reactions. Although dating situations may cause you to be hesitant to share your concern, you need to be aware that even gum, candy, alcoholic drinks, lip balm and makeup can contain the food proteins if they have come in contact with the allergen source. Waiting Prior to Passion May Be Recommended Other researchers have found that by waiting 4 hours to kiss after initial food exposure, and also eating something after that does not contain the allergen reduces the chance of an allergic reaction. Best Practices for Kissing at Valentines and Beyond Tell before Kissing Inform Your Family, Partner and Friends of the Risks Wait Four Hours After Eating a Meal Brush, Rinse and Repeat At Caffaratti Dental Group we want you to have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and enjoy all the pleasures of family and friends but be mindful of the risks of food borne allergies that can be triggered through our mouths and saliva so you remain safe to enjoy many more! If you are considering making your smile more kissable, contact our office at 775-358-1555 to schedule your appointment! We can assist with all your smile needs – whether complete full mouth restoration or correcting a crooked or chipped tooth our dentists have the procedure to fit your needs and budget.