Non-dog owners will often cringe when they see a canine take a big lick of human face.

And there may be something to their revulsion. According to a new study published in the Archives of Oral Biology dog owners have high rates of a type of dangerous mouth bacteria.

Japanese researchers analyzed the plaque of dog owners and dogs. They found that a higher-than-normal 16 to 30 percent of dog owners have periodontopathic bacteria, germs which make you susceptible to diseases of the teeth and mouth.

But it isn't just humans who suffer when Fido plants a wet, sloppy kiss. Seventy percent of dogs have periodontopathic bacteria, and the researchers suspect that dogs can catch the germs from humans just as easily as humans can catch them from dogs.

So the bottom line is, you should show your furry friend your love by giving him a nice hard scratch behind the ear. Both your mouths will thank you.

[WTOP.com]