Is Gingivitis (Gum Disease) Contagious?

By July 20, 2021 Oral Health

Gingivitis is the beginning stage of periodontal disease. Almost 50% of adult Americans have a form of gingivitis. So, why is it so common? Is gingivitis contagious? Find out how gingivitis spreads, what its dangers are, and what treatments can cure it most effectively.

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is simply inflammation of your gums. It’s the start of periodontal disease(more progressive) and if left untreated, it can develop into periodontitis which is inflammation of the supporting structures of the teeth- this leads to loose teeth (and very bad breath)furthermore, its linked to heart disease. That’s why it’s crucial to take gingivitis seriously.

What Causes Gingivitis?

The most common cause for gingivitis is plaque buildup. Plaque is a thin layer of bacteria that forms on the surface of your teeth and gums. (It’s also the culprit behind cavities.) Plaque is huge amounts of bacteria. Combined with saliva and food it forms calculus- even BIGGER amounts of destructive bacteria in the mouth!

If it’s not removed regularly, plaque and can trigger an immune response. It forms into a hard yellow material called tartar on your teeth aka calculus. At that point, the only one who can remove it is your local dentist and hygienist.

But, why does plaque form in the first place? 

For one, it’s a lack of proper dental hygiene. You can easily remove plaque by brushing your teeth and flossing. But, there’s another way you can get plaque. And that’s through a gingivitis contagion.

Gingivitis Symptoms

You’ll probably feel gingivitis before you can see it. If your gums are tender, painful, and sensitive, you most likely have gingivitis. They may also bleed when you brush your teeth or floss.

These are the most common signs and symptoms that you have gingivitis:

  • Bright red or purple gums
  • Tenderness, painful to the touch
  • Bleeding from the gums when brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Inflammation or swelling by the gums
  • Receding gums
  • Soft gums

The dangers of gingivitis

The Dangers of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is uncomfortable and slightly painful. But, these are mild symptoms compared to how bad gum disease can get if you don’t seek treatment for it. Specifically, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, a far more serious condition.

Periodontitis or gum disease poses more risk than just losing your teeth. If left untreated, the inflammation and infection can spread to your lymph nodes, your eyes, and even to your heart. 

You can even suffer a heart attack or a stroke if you don’t take care of your gum disease. 

This is how simple it is for gingivitis to turn into a life-threatening condition. So, you definitely have to watch out. You should pay attention to the warning signs and symptoms of gingivitis to protect your overall health. 

Is Gingivitis Contagious?

Surprisingly, gingivitis is contagious. The bacteria in plaque causes gingivitis. And this bacteria (like all forms of bacteria) can pass from person to person. This means that gingivitis is indeed a contagious disease.

Gingivitis contagion can happen to anyone who comes in contact with someone who has plaque, gingivitis, or poor oral hygiene. It can affect adults and children alike. 

Keep reading to find out how contagious gingivitis is, and what you can do to prevent gingivitis contagion.

Is Gingivitis Contagious Through Kissing?

Saliva is very useful. Your saliva can wash the harmful bacteria of plaque off your teeth and gums. But, it’s also commonly shared through kissing.

While the chances of catching gingivitis-causing bacteria through kissing are low, it’s not impossible. If your partner has gingivitis or poor oral hygiene, they can spread the disease to you.

Gingivitis and cavities are especially prevalent in children. And the most common way children can catch the gingivitis contagion is through their parents. 

Kissing babies on the lips affectionately spreads more than love. This is why children are more likely to have gum disease if their parents do as well.

If you have gingivitis, avoid kissing your partner or loved ones. Since gingivitis is contagious, you can spread your bacteria onto them if you don’t pay attention.

Can You Share Gingivitis By Sharing Drinks?

Sharing cups, utensils, and food is part of everyday activities between families. We pass germs around our closest circles all the time. Although the chances of catching gingivitis-causing bacteria through shared drinks, it’s better to be safe than sorry. While sharing drinks isn’t dangerous as kissing, it’s still a way to share saliva.

If you have gingivitis, or your loved ones do, don’t share cups, utensils, and straws. Also, avoid sharing anything that may have saliva residue on it. This also applies to food, toothbrushes, and flutes.

This is especially important if someone has poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush your teeth properly every day, you could be a risk factor to your loved ones around you. And vice versa.

Sharing gingivitis is possible.

How to Treat Gingivitis

Now that you know that gingivitis is contagious, you can work more on preventing its spread. Prevention is always better than treatment. Brushing your teeth regularly, flossing, and using mouthwash are your best weapons against plaque and gum inflammation. Avoid sharing saliva with someone who has gingivitis is also useful.

But if you catch gingivitis, not all hope is lost. Even if it develops into periodontitis, there are ways to treat it. Still, you’ll need to go to a dentist to find effective and lasting treatment for gingivitis and gum disease.

LANAP Can Treat Contagious Gingivitis

The most advanced and least painful way to treat gingivitis and gum disease is with LANAP. This is a dental laser surgery that works wonders for inflamed gums. And it’s great for both mild gingivitis and severe gum disease.

LANAP’s laser light kills the harmful bacteria that makes gingivitis contagious. It also helps your body rebuild a healthy gum line. Best of all, the dentist won’t need to cut or remove your gums. That means recovery time is much faster than with other, traditional treatment methods.

Root Planing and Scaling

This type of treatment is only viable if you only have gingivitis. Once gingivitis develops into gum disease, this will no longer be an option for you. Root planing and scaling is a deep cleaning procedure. It stops the infection from spreading through your gums and disinfects them effectively.

Surgery to Remove Gums

If you didn’t treat gingivitis, and you developed severe gum disease, traditional surgery is a common route dentists take. With traditional gum surgery, your periodontist will cut the infected parts of your gums off to stop the infection. During surgery, they’ll also scrape the root of your tooth to remove leftover bacteria. Finally, they’ll stitch the gums back together.

This is a highly invasive and painful procedure. It often takes a long time for your gums to completely heal. After that, you can have your stitches removed. (Most patients have to also come in for multiple surgeries as they can usually only perform the procedure on sections of the mouth at a time.)

LANAP can help gingivitisGet LANAP Gingivitis Treatment in NYC

Gingivitis can be contagious. So, if your friends and family have it, you may catch it too. No matter how much you try to avoid it, it can happen. But, the important thing is to find treatment for it before it turns into gum disease. Or worse, a life-threatening condition.

If you have gingivitis or gum disease, the least painful and most effective method to heal your gums is with LANAP. And if you’re in New York City with gingivitis, you’re in luck. Advanced Dental Arts has the equipment and expertise to help you.

Advanced Dental Art regularly uses laser in a variety of dental procedures. From tooth cleanings to LANAP, our team can easily restore the health of your gums. And we’re proud to offer a new, painless life to our patients. That’s what makes us New York City’s favorite dentists.

Start the journey to a healthy gum line and book an appointment with us today!

Dr. Todd Bertman

Dr. Todd Bertman

Renowned NYC dentist Todd Bertman, DMD, has over 18 years of experience in the dental industry. In addition to membership in the American Dental Association, Dr. Bertman is also a member of the New York County Dental Association and the New York State Dental Association. He is certified as a Level I and II Invisalign practitioner, and belongs to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the World Clinical Laser Institute, and the IALD (Institute for Advanced Laser and Dentistry). Dr. Bertman is dedicated to learning about the latest advanced dental procedures and making them to his patients.

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