If you have red inflamed gums that bleed when you brush your teeth, then you have a very common type of periodontal disease called Gingivitis (gum disease).
What causes Gingivitis?
When excess plaque builds up on your teeth it can cause a bacterial infection that spreads to your gums. This is a result of poor oral hygiene and can affect an individual at any age.
Many ask us if gum disease can be passed from one person to another and we have the answers.
Is gingivitis contagious by kissing?
Your mouth is full of bacteria, the good and bad kind. When you have saliva-to-saliva contact you run the risk of spreading that bad bacteria to someone else, just like spreading bacteria that can cause various diseases like the flu and the common cold.
So, the bacteria that leads to gingivitis can be spread through saliva. If the person you are kissing has poor dental health they may be more prone to gum disease from this exposure.
Babies are at an increased risk of developing gingivitis because of their developing immune systems. If a parent with gum disease kisses their baby’s lips may spread the bacteria to the baby’s mouth.
What other ways can you spread gum disease bacteria?
Any activity where saliva may be exchanged can expose others like sharing a drink, straw or eating utensils.
Being exposed to the bacteria doesn’t mean you’ll develop gum disease. The condition generally happens due to long-term issues with maintaining oral health. If you have poor oral hygiene, you may be at an increased risk of developing a bacterial infection that leads to gingivitis.
As long as you brush and floss properly, your chances of “catching” gum disease from someone else are very low unless you are immunocompromised.
How to prevent gingivitis
- brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- flossing your teeth at least once a day
- getting professional dental cleanings regularly
Getting dental cleanings at least twice a year can help prevent the plaque buildup that contributes to gum disease. Your dentist will also do an exam to diagnose and treat any issues that could lead to gingivitis or periodontitis. It is always best to take a proactive approach to your oral health. Being proactive not only promotes optimal overall health but will save you money on further dental treatments and procedures to repair the damage gum disease can cause.