7 Things to Know about Kissing Gluten-Free
Can kissing be a health hazard for someone living gluten-free? While there is no scientific proof about kissing as a cross-contact risk, there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence – including stories shared online – from celiac patients who claim to have been “glutened” through kissing. We’ve compiled some ways kissing could expose you to gluten, even in trace amounts. Check out our extra tips for addressing gluten-free safety when you’re on a date and anticipating a kiss.
1. Yes, you could get “glutened” from a kiss.
“You are what you eat” couldn’t be a more appropriate phrase when you’re talking about kissing someone who isn’t gluten-free. If someone eats or drinks anything containing gluten, including candy or gum, gluten particles could remain in their mouths for hours afterward. Kissing someone who has gluten particles in their mouth could transfer gluten into yours and cause a reaction. It you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease and are highly sensitive to even trace amounts of gluten, you may want to take a few extra steps before locking lips.
2. Watch out for beer drinkers.
Based on anecdotes online, beer drinkers seem to be mentioned often as the culprits guilty of transferring gluten through a kiss. If you are particularly reactive to gluten, kissing someone who is drinking beer could be problematic.
Dating Tip: Let your date know in advance of ordering drinks or food that you are gluten-free for health reasons. Ask them if they’d be willing to indulge in an alternative adult beverage that doesn’t contain gluten. Present them with a myriad of suggestions such as cider, distilled spirits, spiked seltzers or wine – anything that you’ve safely consumed in the past. Know what brands are gluten-free in advance and ask by name, or check out the GFCO’s certified gluten-free product directory.
3. Practice “Safe Kissing” with gluten-free hygiene.
If your date eats or drinks something that contains gluten, encourage them to engage in a careful routine of cleaning their mouth with gluten-free toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss to wash away the majority of gluten particles in their mouth. This mouth hygiene routine is not a practice that would help you keep gluten at bay if you ate something containing gluten. Did you practice unsafe kissing? You could try to wash out your mouth, but chances are you’ve already swallowed some gluten particles. Be pro-active with Safe Kissing.
Dating Tip: Carry toothpaste, mouthwash and floss with you on your dates. Hopefully, you’ve introduced your gluten-free status early on in the date and given the other person plenty of options for enjoying gluten-free foods and drinks. But if you haven’t – or they haven’t been willing to accommodate your health needs (red flag?), you could whip out your handy mouth hygiene kit after a meal if you anticipate a kiss could be imminent. Awkward, yes, but better safe than sorry, right?
4. Beware of beards and moustaches.
No amount of tooth brushing, rinsing, or flossing will address facial hair. Those manly beards and moustaches can trap gluten particles that could drop into your mouth during that passionate kiss. Yeah, not so appealing.
Dating Tip: We aren’t going to recommend that you carry a beard comb on your date (awkward). You could ask your date to wash their face after a meal (also awkward). If asking is too awkward or they’re unwilling to wash their face and comb their beard, we’d advise you skip the kiss this time.
5. Anything applied to the face or mouth could be an issue for some.
Makeup, topical creams, and lip gloss or lipstick could potentially be ingested when kissing and cause an issue. If anything touches your skin and causes a gluten reaction, it is most likely because you got it in your mouth, ingested it, or touched broken skin. The same could happen if those products are present on your date’s face or mouth. The chances of any significant amount of gluten transferring from makeup or face creams are less likely since they would already be in trace amounts when applied and could wear off over time.
For lip gloss or lipstick, the common act of reapplying after a meal or close to kissing time should not be an issue, but use your best judgment when going in for that kiss. While there is no data on the gluten content in lipsticks, even those made with ingredients derived from gluten-containing grains contain such small amounts of gluten as to be insignificant.
Dating Tip: It’s a lot to ask your date to wash their entire face and remove their makeup before a kiss. The sooner you have the gluten-free talk during a date, the better. If your date is wearing lipstick or gloss, mention lip products along with problematic food and drinks. By the end of a meal, lipstick or lip gloss will most likely be wiped away. You could ask your date not to reapply lip products when they go to powder their nose, but as we said, non-gluten-free lip product should not be an issue unless you prefer to err on the side of extra caution.
6. Watch out for sloppy eaters.
Gluten particles from food can be present on skin and be ingested, causing a reaction.
Mouth-to-mouth kissing isn’t the only way gluten can transfer to a person with a gluten sensitivity. A simple peck on someone’s cheek can be a hazard if there are gluten particles on their face. Parents with celiac disease kissing their children who are not gluten-free can be an issue just as kids kissing non-gluten-free parents can transfer gluten. Face washing with soap or a preferred face cleanser and water can get rid of Gluten Face. A safe, gluten-free hygiene practice for the whole family includes brushing, rinsing, and flossing after every meal or snack. Your teeth – and gluten-free family members – will thank you.
7. If you can taste it, be ready for a reaction.
If you can taste the gluten-containing food, drink, or topical product after a kiss, chances are you’ve been glutened. Even if you don’t taste it, if you haven’t followed precautions and aren’t diligently practicing Safe Kissing, the risks of gluten exposure are there. Don’t stress prematurely, but be aware and be prepared.
Living gluten-free comes with its challenges. Having open and honest conversations with your non-gluten-free family members, friends, acquaintances, lovers, partners, and dates can reduce risks of getting glutened from a kiss. Hopefully, by adopting the preventative steps above, you’ll be able to smooch totally stress-free.
The information on this website is for educational purposes only. Consult your healthcare team when considering this information.