Is Gum Disease Contagious?

Is Gum Disease Contagious?

Team Periodontics

Gum disease, called periodontal disease in dentistry, is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. It is generally caused by a buildup of plaque on the teeth, causing the bacteria contained in the pulp to infect the gums. The most common symptoms of gum disease are red, swollen, and sometimes bleeding gums. 

Since other bacterial infections are contagious, it is often questioned whether gum disease is also contagious. Can you catch gum disease from someone else? Here’s what you need to know in order to protect yourself. 

Can You Catch Gum Disease From Someone Else?

Just as any bacteria can be passed from person to person, so can the bacteria that causes gum disease. It starts due to a buildup of plaque on the teeth as a result of poor oral hygiene. The bacteria contained in plaque invades the gum tissue. Someone with gum disease can spread the bacteria to others through a variety of means. 

How is Gum Disease Transmitted?

The bacteria that causes gum disease can be transmitted from one person to another in the following ways: 

  • Sharing a toothbrush. If you use a toothbrush after someone with gum disease, you could spread the bacteria to your own mouth. 
  • Drinking from the same cup. Drinking after someone, especially from the same place on a cup or the same straw, can allow bacteria from one person's mouth to spread to the other person. 
  • Sharing food. Sharing food, especially when biting off of the same piece of food or sharing utensils, can allow mouth bacteria to spread from one person to another. 
  • Kissing. Kissing someone with gum disease can allow the bacteria to pass from their mouth to yours and cause you to develop gum disease. 

How Common is it to Catch Gum Disease? 

It is much less common to catch gum disease from someone else than it is to develop it due to your own oral hygiene habits. When you don’t brush and floss your teeth often enough or go to the dentist for regular cleanings, you are at higher risk for developing gum disease. You’re more likely to develop it on your own or catch it from someone else. 

How to Prevent Gum Disease 

Gum disease is preventable when you do the following: 

  • Brush your teeth twice a day. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to remove food residue and plaque from your teeth. If you are prone to tooth decay, it may be best to brush after each meal. 
  • Floss your teeth once a day. Flossing your teeth once a day removes plaque from the spaces between your teeth where bacteria can gather. 
  • Go to the dentist every 6 months. A professional dental cleaning every 6 months removes plaque left behind after brushing and flossing before it can harden into calculus. It also allows your dentist to recognize the early signs of gum disease in order to provide treatment. 
  • Minimize sugary foods and beverages. Food and drink that is high in sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth and allows them to become overpopulated. This increases the chances of developing gum disease. 
  • Don’t share toothbrushes, food, or drinks. If you want to avoid picking up bacteria from someone with gum disease, avoid sharing toothbrushes, food, or drinks with others. 

Paramount Dental Arts Provides Treatment for Gum Disease

If you have any of the common symptoms of gum disease, such as red, swollen, or bleeding gums, Paramount Dental Arts can provide treatment. Our periodontal services can treat existing gum disease and prevent it from returning. Regular dental services such as cleanings and exams can prevent gum disease from ever occurring in most cases. 

To learn more, call  973-777-1772  or contact us today to schedule an appointment.