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Is Gingivitis Contagious? 6 Real Ways It Might Be

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Is gingivitis contagious?

Is gingivitis contagious?

Gingivitis, otherwise known as gum disease, affects about fifty percent of the general population, or one out of every two adults in America. It is a form of periodontal disease that causes inflammation, and harmful bacterial overgrowth in the mouth. Because of this, many people wonder if gingivitis is contagious. The answer to that question is yes and no.

The important thing to know is that you can catch gingivitis through harmful bacteria in saliva but only if the contact is intense and frequent enough to warrant concern. So, is gingivitis contagious? Here are six common situations where you might be at higher risk of becoming infected.

1. Is Gingivitis Contagious From Kissing Someone?

It is quite possible for people to exchange bacteria through kissing as they are in such close proximity to one another. The mouth has a number of oral bacterial species, so swapping saliva can transfer these germs and make someone more susceptible to gingivitis. In this case, it is important to keep up good dental hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing on a regular basis. Don't forget to properly brush your teeth before bed, and don't forget to brush your tongue as well. By following best practices for oral hygiene, we can safely kiss our partners without being too concerned about contracting gingivitis.

Is gingivitis contagious from kissing someone?

Is gingivitis contagious from kissing someone?

2. Is Gingivitis Contagious by Using Someone's Toothbrush?

Other types of direct or indirect physical contact can also spread bacteria. By sharing a toothbrush, it is feasible for one person to spread dangerous bacteria to another. Even after being rinsed, toothbrushes may still contain germs that increase the risk of infection. By practicing good hygiene habits and always using a toothbrush that has been properly sanitized, the risks of spreading harmful bacteria by sharing toothbrushes can be reduced. After brushing, thoroughly rinse your toothbrush under running water, let it air dry, and then store it upright. Before using your toothbrush again (or allowing anyone else to use it), kill any germs on it by soaking it in boiling water for about 3 minutes.

Is gingivitis contagious by using someone's toothbrush?

Is gingivitis contagious by using someone's toothbrush?

3. Is Gingivitis Contagious From My Dog or Cat?

Gingivitis is not necessarily contagious from pets to humans unless your dog or cat licks you directly inside the mouth (it happens). Having said that, there is a small risk of contagion if your pet licks you frequently. If you get some of their saliva on your hands, you then touch your mouth, it's quite possible to transfer some of the bacteria. Although that may sound concerning, there shouldn't be too much cause for alarm. Even when exposed to harmful bacteria, it doesn't necessarily mean that it would lead to getting an infection such as gum disease.

Is gingivitis contagious from my dog or cat?

Is gingivitis contagious from my dog or cat?

4. Is Gingivitis Contagious to My Baby?

Children are particularly susceptible to gingivitis and cavities. One of the biggest reasons for this is that parents are a main source of spreading gingivitis infections to their children. Giving babies a loving kiss on the lips spreads more than just love; it can spread bacteria too. It stands to reason, then, that if parents have gum disease, babies are also more likely to have it. However, researchers have discovered that these specific oral bacteria are only contagious after prolonged exposure. For it to spread in this way, you would need to regularly share saliva with your baby over a prolonged period of time.

Is gingivitis contagious to my baby?

Is gingivitis contagious to my baby?

5. Is Gingivitis Contagious From Dirty Utensils?

By sharing utensils, people who live close to one another risk developing the same bacteria in their mouths. However, the risk is very small unless the utensil was directly transferred from one mouth to another with fresh saliva on it. If you're concerned about spreading gingivitis through dirty utensils, ensure you wash all your dishes after every meal in hot, soapy water. Better still, use a dishwasher on the "sanitize" setting to ensure that your utensils are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

Is gingivitis contagious from dirty utensils?

Is gingivitis contagious from dirty utensils?

6. Is Gingivitis Contagious by Sharing Food?

Saliva is important for many reasons, but at the same time, it’s also potentially contagious. So by sharing food that is likely to transfer saliva back and forth (for example, eating an apple), there could be a much higher risk of also passing on the harmful bacteria that is responsible for gum disease. A better way to share food with a loved one is to slice it into smaller pieces and present it on a platter.

Is gingivitis contagious by sharing food?

Is gingivitis contagious by sharing food?

Summary

If you're wondering whether gingivitis is contagious, the short answer is yes: but only if the contact is intense and frequent enough to warrant concern. Although the six situations outlined above may pose a higher infection risk, there are some effective ways to minimize it.

Gingivitis can be caught from kissing someone, but if you practice good dental hygiene, you are less likely to get it. Using someone else's dirty toothbrush could spread gingivitis to others quite quickly. However, using a sanitized toothbrush may reduce the risk of spreading harmful bacteria. Gingivitis is not necessarily contagious from pets to humans, but there is a small risk of contagion if your pet licks you frequently. And finally, parents can spread gingivitis infections to their children, but it is only contagious after prolonged exposure.

If you're concerned about the spread of gingivitis, speak with your dentist for further information about the disease and to learn more about reducing the risk of exposure.

Sources and Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Louise