Gingivitis is a disease that affects your gums; indeed it’s commonly referred to as gum disease. It’s caused by bacterial infections that cause your gums to become inflamed. Your gums may become painful to touch, and you may notice they start bleeding when you brush your teeth. And gingivitis can ultimately lead to loss of teeth if you don’t treat it. But is gingivitis contagious and how do you prevent it?
Is gingivitis contagious?
There’s no straight answer to the question of whether or not gingivitis is contagious. Opinion among experts is divided and the answer you get really depends on who you ask.
The difficulty in proving it one way or the other is because there are many possible causes of gum disease, for example:
- Poor dental hygiene.
- Poor diet containing lots of sugars and carbohydrates.
- Some medications.
- Crooked and difficult to clean teeth.
Having said that, it’s been proven that it’s possible for the bacteria that cause gingivitis to be passed between people. And the American Dental Association does currently consider gingivitis to be contagious.
The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle though. It’s likely that you can get the bacteria from other people, mainly from their saliva – so through kissing, sharing drinks, sharing utensils and so on.
But it’s also likely that you need some of the above factors in gum disease, such as poor dental hygiene, for this bacteria to become a problem. It’s also probable that the strength of an individual’s immune system will play a role.
How to prevent gingivitis
You can lower the risks of gingivitis by maintaining good dental hygiene. So brush your teeth twice a day and also floss once a day too. And make sure you eat a low-sugar, healthy diet and avoid smoking. Doing so will minimize your chances of getting it, even if gingivitis is contagious.
Also make sure you get regular dental check-ups. And if you do notice any gum problems such as inflammation, soreness and/or bleeding after brushing your teeth, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. Catching and treating gingivitis as early as possible is the best way to stop it in its tracks.