Dog owners who kiss their pets could catch gum disease, warn experts.
Japanese researchers examined dental plaque from 66 dogs, as well as dental plaque from 81 people from Japan who visited a dog-training school or animal clinic during 2011, the New York Daily News reported.
They conducted analysis to find the presence of 11 disease-causing oral bacteria-called "periodontopathic" species-in the plaque.
They found that three kinds of disease-causing oral bacteria were especially prevalent in the dogs' dental plaque: Porphyromonas gulae, which was found in 71.2 percent of the dogs' samples; Tannerella forsythia, which was found in 77.3 percent of the dogs' samples; and Campylobacter rectus, which was found in 66.7 percent of the dogs' samples.
There were much smaller percentages of the same bacteria in the humans.
"The results," the researchers concluded, "suggest that several periodontopathic species could be transmitted between humans and their companion."
Dr. Ann Hohenhaus at the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan said the study doesn't prove conclusively that kissing dogs poses any danger and added, "Organisms are not uniform across the board."
But, said Honehaus, "the whole thing when people say animals' mouths are cleaner than ours doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me."
"Dogs have a lot of bacteria in their mouths," she said.
The study has been published in the Archives of Oral Biology.