Adults and teens with food allergies should be aware that allergic reactions to food allergens via kissing are relatively common. Proteins can transfer between mouths, especially if your partner has recently consumed your allergen. It may not be romantic, but there are some precautions that need to be taken to avoid reactions from kissing.
The Kissing Study
A study was published in 2006 evaluating various mouth cleansing methods to remove peanut allergen from saliva.
The scientists found that the most reliable way to completely remove peanut residue from the mouth was to:
- Wait a few hours after eating peanut.
- Then, consume a peanut-free meal.
Notably, measures taken immediately after eating peanut were not successful in removing peanut allergen. For example, brushing teeth and chewing gum immediately after eating peanut both left protein remaining in the saliva. This is why waiting a few hours is best; the protein has time to gradually reduce in prevalence.
Have “The Talk” Before the First Kiss
Your food allergy may seem like an uncomfortable topic to bring up, but it’s definitely much more comfortable to talk about it than to have a reaction.
Be upfront with people you are interested in. If they care about you, they will understand and want to learn about how they can help keep you safe.
Food particles and proteins can remain in saliva for hours after eating, so it’s important to ask if your date has eaten anything containing your allergens recently. Even though it may feel awkward, the consequences of potentially having a reaction are much worse than a moment of embarrassment.
Should Your Partner Avoid Your Allergen?
Many adults and teens tell us that their significant others avoid the allergy-causing food on days when they will be hanging out together. Others say their significant others have cut the allergen out of their diets entirely. Talk to your doctor and your partner about what makes the most sense for your situation.