Office News |4 min read

Is Gum Disease Contagious?

A male patient holds his mouth open and displays his gums

Are you concerned you might have developed gum disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common oral health condition that affects millions of people worldwide.

A survey by the CDC on periodontal disease showed various rates of gum disease between different groups.

The analysis revealed that 47.2 percent of Americans, equivalent to approximately 64.7 million individuals, had gum disease categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. Among adults aged 65 or older, the prevalence of gum disease increased to 70.1 percent.

It is characterized by inflammation of the gums, which can progress to damage the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth.

One question that often arises is whether gum disease is contagious.

In this article, we will explore the topic in detail and provide you with accurate information to better understand the contagiousness of gum disease.

What is gum disease?

Gum or periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is primarily caused by the buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums.

When plaque is not removed through regular brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar, leading to gum inflammation and infection.

Understanding contagiousness

Contagiousness refers to the ability of a disease or condition to be transmitted from one person to another.

In the case of gum disease, it is important to differentiate between the infection itself and the risk factors associated with its development.

While the infection is not directly contagious, certain behaviors and habits can increase the likelihood of transmission.

How is gum disease transmitted?

Gum disease is not typically transmitted through casual contact or airborne particles like a common cold or flu.

However, the bacteria contributing to gum disease can be spread through saliva and oral fluids.

Activities like sharing utensils, kissing, or using someone else’s toothbrush can potentially increase the risk of transmitting the bacteria responsible for gum disease.

Risk factors for gum disease

Several factors can increase the risk of developing gum disease.

These include:

Poor oral hygiene: Inadequate brushing and flossing can allow plaque to build up, leading to gum inflammation.

Smoking and tobacco use: Tobacco use weakens the immune system and makes it harder for the body to fight off infections, including gum disease.

Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy or menopause can make gums more susceptible to inflammation and infection.

Diabetes: Uncontrolled diabetes can impair the body’s ability to heal and make it more prone to infections, including gum disease.

Certain medications: Some medications can cause dry mouth or affect gum health, increasing the risk of gum disease.

Genetic factors: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to developing gum disease.

Symptoms of gum disease

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult Palms Dentistry for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

  • Receding gums or the appearance of longer teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when biting

Treating gum disease

The treatment of gum disease depends on its severity. In the early stages, gum disease can often be effectively treated through non-surgical methods, such as:

Professional dental cleaning: A dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline in a process called scaling and root planing.

Antibiotics: Sometimes, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to control bacterial infection and promote healing.

For advanced stages of gum disease, more intensive treatments may be required, including:

Periodontal surgery: In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove tartar deposits, reduce pocket depth, and regenerate damaged bone and tissue.

Gum grafting: If gum recession has occurred, gum grafts may be performed to cover exposed tooth roots and restore gum tissue.

It is important to remember that prompt treatment is crucial to prevent further damage and tooth loss.

Your dentist will tailor the treatment plan to your specific needs and address any concerns you may have.


In conclusion, gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a common oral health condition that affects many individuals.

While gum disease is not directly contagious, certain activities involving the exchange of oral fluids can increase the risk of transmitting the bacteria associated with gum disease.

Good oral hygiene, regular dental checkups, and a healthy lifestyle are crucial for preventing and managing gum disease.

Call us today to learn how to control your oral health, protect your smile and share the knowledge!

Schedule an Appointment


Your Palms Dentistry team is proud to provide a better dental experience in Simpsonville, SC, Greenville, SC, and surrounding areas, including; Mauldin, Fountain Inn, Laurens, Clinton, and Gray Court.

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