Cleanliness and Safety

Is Gingivitis Contagious?

June 20, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — lifetimedentalteam @ 1:10 pm
A father and son flossing their teeth.

Sharing is caring, as they say, unless you’re sharing something like bacteria or illness. Unfortunately, while you may not set out to pass these problems along, you can easily do so unintentionally if you’re not careful. Whether it’s by not covering your mouth when you’re sick, touching a doorknob with contamination that you can’t see, or inadvertently spreading the bacteria that causes gingivitis by sharing a cup or toothbrush, a seemingly innocent act can cause a lot of problems.

The Dangers of P. Gingivalis Bacteria

The bacteria that cause gingivitis is known as porphyromonas gingivalis, or p. gingivalis for short.  This bacterium is present in many people’s mouths, even if they don’t have gingivitis or periodontal disease. But it presents in much larger numbers in those that do. Normally, the balance of “good bacteria” in your mouth can help counterbalance p. gingivalis, but if there’s too much or you aren’t taking good care of your oral health, it can easily wreak havoc on your teeth and gums.

Worse yet, p.gingivalis is considered contagious. You can transmit it from mouth to mouth by sharing utensils, toothbrushes, drinkware, and even by kissing. In fact, it is so contagious that studies have shown that kids over the age of three are 26 times more likely to have gingivitis causing bacteria if their parents have it!

Diagnosing Gingivitis

One of the first steps to diagnosing and treating gingivitis is by observing any changes in your oral health. Early warning signs include:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bleeding after brushing or flossing teeth

Your dentist will also be checking your gums for signs of gingivitis at your semi-annual checkup. They can spot these symptoms much easier and can recommend care options if treatment is needed.

The Dangers of Not Treating Gingivitis

Though it is the most common form of gum disease and easily reversible, if left untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontal disease, or periodontitis. This condition can cause bad breath, gum recession, tooth loss, and tooth abscesses.

Thankfully, treating gingivitis is relatively easy and can often be done without any medication or special intervention from your dentist. With proper brushing and flossing it can often clear up on its own; however, if you notice any of the warning signs mentioned above, speak to your dentist to rule out any other problems like periodontal disease, and for your treatment options.

How Do I Prevent Gingivitis?

In addition to avoiding sharing anything that goes in your mouth with anyone else, preventing gingivitis requires some intervention. To lower your risk, be sure to always do the following:

  • Never vape or smoke
  • Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day
  • Get regular semi-annual dental exams and cleanings

Furthermore, if you know you have gingivitis, be especially careful around those who have compromised immune systems, as you can easily transmit dangerous bacteria that could cause them to become infected as well.

Remember, if you have gingivitis, you’re not alone, but addressing this illness is important for your oral health and for the health of those around you. Don’t put your teeth and gums in unnecessary danger. Speak to your dentist about gingivitis treatment today.

About Dr. Michitti

Dr. Frank Michitti is a “Top 1% Dentist” following his achievement of Mastership status in the American Academy of General Dentistry. Less than two percent of general dentists in the United States and Canada have earned the MAGD title, which can only be done by completing over 1,100 credit hours of continuing education, 400 of which must be hands-on, and passing an exam that is equal in difficulty to board certification exams.

Whether you need a regular exam, a dental restoration, or if you’re concerned about your gum health, Dr. Michitti is here to help. To schedule an appointment, please visit our website or call 413-831-5531 today.

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