Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a chronic pathological infection of the structures around the teeth. Periodontal disease is mostly caused by bacteria in dental plaque. It affects the gums, bone and connective tissues that supports the teeth. At the earliest stage, periodontal disease is called gingivitis, it starts out with irritated, red, swollen and bleeding gums caused by a bacterial infection.
The earliest stage of periodontal disease is reversible, but when it’s left untreated, the disease can progress into an irreversible condition. The more severe stage of gum disease is known as periodontitis. Periodontitis damages the cells of your immune system, the gums, periodontal ligaments and bones. As of recent, many researchers have carried out various studies to help us understand more about periodontal disease.
What Researchers said about periodontal disease
According to a study, it was shown that a high number of adults aged 30 years and above have some form of gum disease. Some studies have also reported that gum disease is linked to other serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and many others.
Some researchers have used DNA coding techniques to track the path of infection transmission from one person to another. It is believed that children with parents who have advanced periodontal disease are at somewhat higher risk of developing the disease too. However, the contraction of periodontal disease is somewhat dependent on an individuals genes, immunity strength, diet and oral hygiene or health. Although, some of the scientific evidence supporting the spread of periodontal disease is limited and ongoing.
Is Periodontal Disease Contagious?
Periodontal disease is caused by inflammatory reaction to bacterial toxins under the gums. The disease is not contagious through casual contact, is not easily transmitted as you may think. With steady protection against bacteria and germs by our immune system, It takes time and lack of flossing or brushing daily for bacteria to actually cause gum disease. It takes a long period of time for bacteria to accumulate on your teeth and gum lines and also affect your gum tissue, bone and ligaments that support your teeth.
Well, gum disease and those bacteria that contribute to gum disease can be shared when present in our mouth and saliva. These bacteria are usually being spread through the saliva when coughing, sneezing, and sharing utensils. According to researchers, exposure to these specific oral bacteria over a long period of time could increase the likelihood of contracting the disease from an infected person.
So, periodontal disease is contagious but it can only be transmitted when exposure has occurred over a long period of time. In a family setting, it’s common for members to spread bacteria from their mouth through kissing, sharing of eating utensils and oral care equipments. Children with parents who have advanced periodontal disease are at somewhat higher risk of developing it.
In addition, your chances of contracting periodontal disease are slightly increased if you’re married to a spouse with advanced periodontal disease. If you notice that your spouse or a family member has periodontal disease, it’s always a good idea to avoid contact with their saliva by not sharing eating utensils and oral care equipment such as tooth brush.
Is gum disease contagious through kissing?
The strength of your immune system in fighting off bacteria invasion plus the health of your mouth plays a huge role in the health of your body. Advanced gum disease is contagious and can be transferred through kissing and close contact. Kissing and sharing of utensils and food with your spouse suffering from periodontal disease, slightly increases your risk of having gum disease. People suffering from gum disease, always have high number of harmful bacteria growth in their mouth. You’re at higher risk of contracting the disease if your immune system is poor and if your oral hygiene is questionable.
Finally, If you notice that your spouse or a family member has the warning signs of a possible periodontal problem, don’t hesitate to take him or her to the periodontist for a thorough examination and treatments. Some common signs of periodontal disease includes – red bleeding gums, bad breath (halitosis), loose teeth and sensitivity to hot and cold foods or drinks.