The dirty secret of “La Bise” and more…
14th February 2019
To celebrate this Valentine’s Day in a slightly different way, we wanted to share with you our knowledge (once again) on our favourite subject, bacteria.
Today we decided to talk to you about “bisous”! Nothing could be more natural for us, as a mainly French team (we don’t forget you Diego), to discuss this subject when we know that the French devote a cult to la bise and that internationally, we are known for the famous French Kiss! Take notes!
The custom in France is to kiss each other to say hi. It is, therefore, an exchange of two kisses (even 3, even 4, depending on the region) on the cheeks, which I can understand you may think strange and very intimate for a first meeting.
Nevertheless, this practice has allowed us to raise a question: what about all the bacteria exchanged during la bise?
According to some research, it seems that la bise is not a nest of microbes as we might imagine. In case of flu, for example, it is better to do la bise to each other than to shake hands. This is (almost) obvious: hands favour contamination because they are the most exposed to external sources of bacteria and viruses. Tell me if I’m wrong, but I’ve never actually seen anyone hold the subway bar with their teeth…
Gentlemen, a Canadian survey would encourage you to do la bise between guys even more: only 37% of respondents would wash their hands to limit exposure to germs (compared to 47% of women).
While writing this article we asked ourselves another question: is it better to do la bise to a shaved man or a bearded man? (Yes, we ask ourselves many more or less useful questions). Believe it or not, someone (the University of London among others) has done a study on the subject! It turns out that bearded men have microbes in their beards that have the ability to kill some harmful bacteria (E. Coli for example)! The beard would, therefore, have a natural antibiotic effect, which is not the case for men shaved closely. It’s up to you to make your choice!
For the French kiss aka the kiss with saliva exchange (but also 80 million bacteria travelling from one mouth to another for a 10-second kiss*), it’s another story.
The first way of thinking, a hygienist-traditionalist one, shouts out loud and clear that it is time to stop kissing because of the risk ok exchange all the diseases in the world.
The second, which appeared with recent microbiome research, reveals that sharing bacteria would allow a couple to build a similar immune system and thus protect themselves against the same types of disease or better digest the same type of food. I’ll let you guess which think we believe in!
So even if there are more bacteria in your mouth than people on the planet….
It is better to kiss 10 strangers than to lift weights in your gym. They can contain up to 362 times more bacteria than a public toilet seat… Have you already been told that not all bacteria are blooming?
* you read it right. 80 million. In 10 seconds. They’re fast, the little ones.