Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a bacteria infection in the gums and bone area around your teeth. Researchers have employed DNA techniques to track the path of infection between people. How contagious it is depends on how susceptible a person is to getting the disease. Saliva contact is possible in settings like kissing, coughing, sneezing, sharing food (a cup, glass, etc.).
Studies by Canadian scientists showed that gingivitis is contagious with a transmission rate of between 30-70%. It is believed that the periodontal bacteria can be transferred between partners during a kiss. However, just because the bacteria is transmitted, does not mean that gum disease will occur, based on each individual's immune systems. It also depends on how often the person is exposed to infected saliva.
Periodontal infections can be a serious problem because they are responsible for 75% of all adult tooth loss. Unfortunately, peridontal disease also increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteroporosis, respiratory diseases, and pre-term low birth weight infants.
How do you avoid catching or spreading gingivitis?
- Complete recommended periodontal treatments. This destroys or reduces the bacteria causing the disease.
- Frequent periodontal cleaning dental visits. This reduces the risk of being re-infected.
- Have everyone in your family screened if there is a genetic predisposition to getting the disease.