Mish Sachdev

Is gum disease contagious?


Gum disease normally arises from a bacterial infection which spreads to the gums due to a build-up of plaque. This can lead to inflamed, sore, red and potentially bleeding gums. The bacteria which can lead to gum disease can be spread through saliva. Subsequently, if you possess gum disease and you make saliva-to-saliva contact, the other individual may be more likely to develop gum disease from this exposure. But, just how contagious is it?

How contagious is gum disease?

Saliva helps safeguard against some of the bacteria which you commonly encounter in your mouth. As a result, you are unlikely to get gum disease through kissing, sharing drinks, sharing utensils, or sharing toothbrushes. However, individuals with poor oral health may be more susceptible to the exchange of bacteria that occurs in these activities. Therefore, this exposure (if combined with poor oral health) can lead to gum disease and is thus contagious to an extent.

Those with weakened immune systems are also more susceptible to gum disease, such as babies. Consequently, if a parent with gum disease kisses a baby on the lips, it is possible that bacteria can spread to the baby. Many studies back this up and suggest that the children of those with gum disease are more likely to develop have gum disease due to shared bacteria. However, it is essential to consider that gum disease is not a highly contagious disease and saliva-to-saliva contact with someone with gum disease does not immediately cause gum disease. The disease usually originates from a pre-existing issue of poor oral health. Contact from another individual with gum disease is merely exacerbating the existing issue and not causing it.

How to prevent gum disease

In spite of how contagious gum disease may be, it is essential to tackle the root causes of gum disease, and thus avoid the possibility that gum disease can be transmitted to you. This involves maintaining impeccable oral hygiene at all times and brushing your teeth a minimum of twice a day. Additionally, teeth should be flossed daily, good fluoride toothpaste should be used, and mouthwash should be used at times when other methods are not possible.

Regular dental visits are also essential in preventing gum disease, this involves having regular dental check-ups and a minimum of two dental cleanings a year to prevent plaque build-up. These visits will also allow the dentist to conduct examinations and diagnose potential symptoms of gum disease and deal with these swiftly.

Ensuring you keep your general health in tip top shape is also key, as there is evidence which shows a clear correlation between a healthy body and a healthy mouth. Subsequently, unhealthy habits such as smoking, should be reduced or quit all together to reduce gum disease risk. Additionally, foods rich in fibre like fruits and vegetables should be regularly consumed, to help keep your gums clean. While foods which promote saliva production, like dairy products and sugarless gum, should also be consumed to minimise plaque build-up.

If you are looking to restore your gums back to health with gum treatment we would be happy to chat things through with you.