Could Kissing with Bleeding Gums Be Spreading Gum Disease?

The Contagious Question: Can Gum Disease Spread Through Kissing?

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 gingivitis or worse yet full blown 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 might we find?

The answer is a lot of bacteria. Studies have shown that a 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? 

What's the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?

Gingivitis is marked by inflamed, bleeding gums, while periodontitis involves severe gum recession and deep gaps between teeth. While gingivitis can be reversed, often with the help of laser therapy, periodontitis is a more advanced stage of gum disease that could result in losing your teeth.

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a chronic pathological inflammatory condition.

Gum disease affects your gums, bone health, and 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 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 teeth. At this more severe stage, it is periodontitis. This condition is one of the most common, and we find that patients either ignore it or their doctor needs to explain it fully. 

More recently Scientific American released an article potentially linking colon cancer to mouth bacteria.

47% of adults 30 years old and older have gum disease. The percentage increases with age, too. The Centers 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 kissing your partner or someone you know?

Is Periodontal Disease Contagious?

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

Researchers have found that long-term exposure can transmit specific oral bacteria, contributing to gum disease in your mouth and saliva.

The human body's immune system protects you from bacteria and other germs. It takes time and a 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 who does not take care of their oral health? 

If so, 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 is a severe condition that, if left untreated, can put your teeth and your health at risk.

We perform a comprehensive periodontal exam at your new patient visit. Routine, complete hygiene cleaning appointments can also determine the condition of your gums. Every person has a different medical history, genetics, upbringing, and stress 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 hygienists 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 Terrible breath
  • Pain chewing food
  • Loose or sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums lead to bone loss

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 to the slime layer you clean from your dog's water bowl. The biofilm has damaging layers of harmful 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 return to rebuild another anthill of infection. The worst spot gets retreated at the second appointment, 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 uses 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 gum disease is an advanced technique that not all hygienists use. Our hygienists have completed further education to gain laser certification. This extra knowledge helps her patients enjoy a modern, more sophisticated standard of dental care.

Therapy with the use of the laser is 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 decrease post-op discomfort. 

After laser therapy, our dental professionals schedule a no-charge 6-8 week follow-up visit. At this appointment, we can determine if we have reached your goal. 90% of our patient's outcomes are successful in treating their gum disease. We can evaluate alternate solutions if these results fail to meet your goals. 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. We aim 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 bleeding gums and bad breath can produce incredible results.

Some methods can deliver treatment 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 instant results are appealing. 

Your gum disease took time, and a quick fix only sometimes means 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.

In that light, our hygienists are like periodontal disease boot camp coaches. They will work with you to reach your goal and guide you with proper home dental appliances for your care. They will also tell you where you can improve how to best take care of your gums and health.

  • Ask yourself how you want to care for your health and dental condition. 
  • Have you seen a dental professional recently?
  • Is this important to your health and well-being?

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

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