Kissing Your Kid's 'Boo-Boos' Really Does Make Them Heal Faster, Says Science

mom kissing toddler
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When your LO falls down and gets a scraped knee or cut, sometimes all you can do is grab some antibiotic gel, pull out an Elmo bandage, and offer her a kiss that'll make her boo-boo better. Of course, we've always thought that smooching our kids' injuries only "helped," thanks to the placebo effect. But new science shows that kisses from mom may actually have real healing power!


A study published online in the FASEB Journal investigated why wounds in your mouth actually heal faster than injuries elsewhere. Scientists have always thought that saliva may bolster the healing process, but the exact science has been hazy -- until now. The new research looked at a peptide in saliva called histatin-1, concluding that it promotes blood vessel formation, which in turn expedites healing.

Vicente A. Torres, PhD, associate professor at the Institute for Research in Dental Sciences within the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Chile, noted: "We believe that the study could help the design of better approaches to improve wound healing in tissues other than the mouth."

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So, good news! Kissing your kiddos' boo-boos might not only be comforting to them psychologically, but your saliva is powerful stuff -- and even the tiniest bit may promote healing.

As Thoru Pederson, PhD, editor in chief of the FASEB Journal, put it, "The clear results of the present study open a wide door to a therapeutic advance. They also bring to mind the possible meaning of animals, and often children, 'licking their wounds.'"

Okay, maybe we're not gonna start encouraging full-on licking, but it's good to know those "make it better" kisses may go a lot further than initially thought.

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