Can kissing my partner with bleeding gums spread gum disease?

4 min read

Get this, if you have chronic bad breath or have bleeding gums when you brush or floss it may be time to find out if you have gum disease.

Let’s admit it. You have shared a spoon with your child or drank from a friend's cup. Maybe you kissed a pet or brushed with a partner's toothbrush. Seems innocent right? But, what if we looked at these innocent actions through a microscope, what do you think we might find?

The answer is a lot of bacteria. Studies have shown that a single kiss with your partner can send up to 80 million bacteria. Gross! So, have you ever wondered if you could catch gum disease from someone you know? 

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a chronic pathological inflammatory condition.

Gum disease affects your gums, bone, connective tissue, and science shows us that it causes other health problems within your body.  

What’s the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?

Gum disease starts out with irritated, bleeding gums caused by a bacterial infection. At this reversible stage, it is gingivitis.

Untreated, the disease can progress into an irreversible condition and possible loss of your teeth. At this more severe stage, it is periodontitis. This condition is one of the most common we find that patients either ignore or their doctor hasn't fully explained.  

47% of adults 30 years old and older have some form of gum disease. The percentage increases with age too. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also says 70% of adults 65 years and up have periodontal disease.

The American Dental Hygiene Association (ADHA) reported that 80% of Americans have gum disease. The scary thought is that these statistics are from patients who have had a dental screening.

With statistics that high, it leads us back to our original question.

Can you get periodontal disease from your partner or someone you know by kissing?

Is Periodontal Disease Contagious?

All fear aside, periodontal disease is not contagious through casual contact. However, sharing saliva and bacteria with someone who has gum disease in an activity such as kissing over a long period of time could increase the likelihood of transmitting the disease to your partner.

Gum disease and the bacteria that contribute to gum disease can be shared when present in your mouth and saliva. Researchers have found that these specific oral bacteria are only transmitted when exposure has occurred over a long period of time.

The human body's immune system protects you from bacteria and other germs. It takes time and lack of flossing or brushing daily for these bacteria to flourish.

Did you know that plaque transmits through saliva? Do you share a toothbrush or kiss a person that does not take care of their oral health? If so, the presence of harmful bacteria growth in their mouth will be high, so you’re at risk over time spreading that same bacteria into your mouth.

With constant exposure, your immune system becomes stressed fighting off this invasion. Your mouth is a portal to the rest of your body. The health of your mouth plays a huge role in the health of your body.

Periodontal disease as a serious condition that if left untreated can put your health at risk.

We perform a comprehensive periodontal exam at your new patient visit. Routine comprehensive hygiene cleaning appointments can also determine the condition of your gums. Every person has a different medical history, genetics, upbringing, and stresses in life. Your story and the assessments that we gather allow us to figure out pieces of your puzzle.

The primary goal for our dental hygienist, Jyssica, is to reverse or manage your disease. Like physical therapy stretches and exercises aid in rehabilitation until conditions improve. We like to treat the mouth similarly during our laser periodontal therapy treatments.

Gum Disease Warning Signs

  • Puffy or red bleeding gums

  • Halitosis or Really bad breath

  • Pain chewing food

  • Loose or sensitive teeth

  • Receding gums leading to bone loss


We like Dr. Chrystle Cu's Gum Guide Illustration of the stages of gum disease. We also love their coconut and strawberry flavored floss.

Think of the bacteria in your mouth like little ants. When one ant finds a sweet spot in your gums that you have ignored for days maybe even weeks, it will call for other ants to join the party of fun to create an ant hill. This “hill” is the biofilm. It has a similar matrix like the slime layer you clean out of your dog’s water bowl. The biofilm has damaging layers of harmful bad bacteria. With time these bacteria calcify. Tartar then travels under the gums destroying bone which could result in tooth loss.

During periodontal therapy, the worst area of your mouth will get treated first. These appointments are 7 to 14 days apart and usually last one hour. This span of days gives your body time to heal before starting the next therapy session.

Like ants, the bacteria in your mouth will come back to rebuild another ant hill of infection. At the second appointment, the worst spot gets retreated and then we start on the second worst area. This chain effect continues until we treat all affected areas of your mouth.

Laser technology has come a long way in the field of dentistry. Our dental hygienist and Springfield dentist, Dr. Randi Green, both use Biolase lasers to treat gum disease.

Laser therapy has yielded many positive outcomes for our dental patients with periodontal disease.

Using a laser to treat your gum disease is an advanced technique that not all hygienists own. Jyssica has completed further education to gain laser certification. This extra knowledge helps her patients enjoy a modern, more sophisticated standard of dental care.

Therapy without the use of the laser is not even comparable. The laser removes infected tissue and reduces bacterial loads even further than standard treatment.

The laser also sends signals to other cells in the body that produce a faster healing rate and to decrease post-op discomfort.  

After laser therapy, Jyssica schedules a 6-8 week follow up visit. At this appointment, she can determine if we reached your goal. 90% of our patient’s outcomes are successful in treating their gum disease. If these results don’t meet your goals, we can determine alternate solutions. During this appointment, we also forecast a balance point.

A balance point is the ideal time frame that is specific for you to avoid relapsing. At these maintenance appointments, prevention is the key to staying stable. It is like hair growth. Everyone has a different hair growth schedule. The same goes for your periodontal conditions.

Everyone re-grows their biofilm and tartar unalike. Our goal is to keep your bleeding gums, bad breath, and other symptoms in a remission state the best we can.

Periodontal disease is relatable to fitness. You cannot expect instant results with just one workout at the gym and one day of eating well.

Using a laser to treat your bleeding gums and bad breath produces incredible results.

Some methods can treat in one day or half of the mouth in one visit and the other half the next. We live in a fast-paced world where time is a crunch, and the idea of instant results is appealing. This is your health and your body with which we are discussing! Your gum disease took the time to develop, and a quick fix does not always mean a good outcome.

Periodontal disease is relatable to fitness. You cannot expect instant results with just one workout at the gym and one day of eating well. Then wait three months and try a different type of fitness routine. Your health is a daily chore.

Jyssica in that light is like a periodontal disease boot camp coach. She is going to work with you to reach your goal and guide you with proper home dental appliances for your care. She will also tell you where you can improve, how to best take care of your gums and health.

  • Ask yourself, how do you want to take care of your health and dental condition?  

  • Have you seen a dental professional recently?

  • Is this important to your well being?

When you are ready, our team is here to cheer you on your way to better dental health.

Contact the Smile Team — Live life with a healthy smile.