Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cautious Kissing?

When is it medically safe for someone with celiac disease to enjoy a deep smooch with someone who has, say, just eaten some gluten-containing cake or chugged a six-pack of Bud? I think it's hard to know for sure, but some recent allergy research may shed some light on the subject.

As reported in various places including Please Don't Pass the Nuts, Parenting a Child with Food Allergy, Medscape, and the website of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), a recent peanut allergy study looked at peanut butter residue in saliva. Led by Dr. Jennifer Maloney of New York City's Mount Sinai Hospital, the study found that, apart from avoiding peanuts in the first place, the most effective method of eliminating peanut butter residue in saliva was to wait several hours, then eat at least one peanut-free meal. And just in case you're wondering: Toothbrushing alone did not do the trick. Nor did gum-chewing.

How would the findings relate to gluten residue from food and/or drink for people on medical gluten-free diets? I'd like to see some studies done—immediately! In the meantime, the safest approach to, um, swapping spit would be for the smoochers to be gluten-free—and the second safest approach would seem to be for them to be gluten-free for at least several hours with something gf to eat or drink before the smooching starts. Those hours without gluten might make a difference when it comes to mouth-clearing. And, of course, otherwise keeping a strict gluten-free diet does keep any minute quantities of ingested daily gluten from adding up to dangerous levels.

It's easy to see how one might feel that an ultra-hygienic approach to kissing can be unromantic or just plain, um, suck. As suggested above, research might provide some insight into the properties of gluten residue as opposed to peanut butter residue. And GFNYC continues to feel that sympathy, creativity, good humor, and safe expressions of sensual affection can go a long way in rewarding partners who respect the medical concerns of the gluten-free.

So what do you think? Even this very serious "How To Kiss" video addresses hygiene.

Source (2:18)


Sasha said...

Any research updates on this most important topic since 2009?

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