Is Gingivitis Contagious?

Dental cleanings can help prevent gingivitis.
Mouthwash may be helpful when fighting gingivitis.
The stages of periodontal disease, including gingivitis.
Good dental hygiene is crucial for maintaining a healthy smile.
Flossing is a basic component of gingivitis prevention.
Article Details
  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Gingivitis is not generally considered contagious, as it is commonly caused by a buildup of plaque along the gum line. The bacteria which cause it may be spread from person to person, and since it can sometimes occur with other periodontal diseases, it is important to be cautious because certain other gum issues can be spread. Since the bacteria which may contribute to gingivitis can be communicable, it is a good idea to brush and floss after eating, as well as after sharing utensils, kissing, or drinking from someone else's cup.

Gingivitis is a gum disease which results from plaque building up around the gums and causing inflammation. This happens because bacteria live in the plaque and infect the tissue of the gums. Symptoms may include bleeding, bad breath, swelling, and soreness along the gum line.

Although gingivitis is considered entirely preventable in most cases, there are some types which may be spread from person to person, although brushing several times a day cuts down on the this risk. Any type of bacteria can be spread through activities like kissing and sharing eating utensils or cups, and the spread of bacteria could mean a higher threat of developing the disease, although it does not spread directly in this manner.

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The best way of preventing gingivitis is to brush after every meal in order to keep plaque from building up. Seeing a dentist regularly is also a good idea to ensure that there are no trouble areas in the teeth, such as tartar buildup or cavities. Using a medicated or antiseptic mouthwash is another good way to kill germs and keep gum disease at bay. Flossing is also an important part of oral health because it removes food matter and plaque from between the teeth more thoroughly than brushing.

Treatments for gingivitis include special mouth rinses, toothpastes, and sometimes surgery in very severe cases. Following treatment plans is very important to prevent further damage to the teeth and gums. If gum disease becomes very severe, the teeth may eventually become loose and fall out. In this case, dentures may be the only option.

Gingivitis may seem to spread from one person to another because it may be more likely to run in families. This is often because family members have shared oral hygiene habits and may all neglect to brush, floss, or rinse with mouthwash. Although not usually directly contagious, if someone has been diagnosed with gingivitis, it is a good idea to abstain from sharing eating utensils until it has been properly treated.

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Discuss this Article

fBoyle
Post 6

Okay, so from what I understand, dental gingivitis can only pass when someone comes into contact with another's saliva right?

I don't have gingivitis. It's actually one of my dogs that has it. My other dog has really healthy teeth and no gingivitis so far. My dogs play together all the time though and there is also biting and licking involved. Is it possible for my dog to transfer the gingivitis to my other dog?

Should I keep them in separate areas of the room for a while? I'm confused!

serenesurface
Post 5

@fify-- That's a good idea. I actually have a friend who got the gingivitis bacteria from his girlfriend and developed gingivitis as well!

I think his girlfriend was aware of it but was delaying her gingivitis treatment because she was afraid of the dentist's office. How irresponsible!

Maybe she wasn't aware that gingivitis is contagious, but still, she should have mentioned it to him. Only after he found out he had gingivitis did she mention that she has it too! Needless to say, they broke up soon after.

fify
Post 4

Boy, am I glad I read this article! My husband just had a dentist visit and he has gingivitis. The doctor prescribed a special gingivitis mouthwash for him and according to my husband, I'm safe.

But I don't think I want to take the risk! Even if he brushes multiple times a day, the possibility of infection is still there like the article said. It's a good idea to be extra cautious until his gingivitis is fully treated.

OeKc05
Post 3

I believe that my husband has gingivitis because his mother never taught him good oral hygiene habits. She has it, too, so in an indirect way, she passed it along to him.

She had told him to brush his teeth with a side to side motion, rather than in the circular motion that dentists recommend. She never told him how long he should brush for, and she never taught him to floss.

He told me that she never said anything when he would go to bed without brushing his teeth first. This really bothers me, and it makes me less angry at him for having gingivitis.

He is currently reversing his gingivitis with a combination of dental work and new brushing and flossing habits. His dentist showed him the proper way to brush and floss, and I'm impressed that he is sticking to it.

JackWhack
Post 2

@DylanB – Plaque is a mixture of saliva and food particles, so it's no wonder that it is full of bacteria. It's good that you are getting treatment for your gingivitis.

I knew a man who didn't go to the dentist for twenty years, and he has gingivitis so severe that most of his teeth became loose and fell out. It is so important to get your teeth cleaned by a dentist at least once a year.

The dentist will use scraping instruments to get rid of that plaque. This is something that your toothbrush just isn't capable of, though brushing and flossing do prevent it from getting as bad.

Personally, I wouldn't want to kiss someone who had gingivitis, on the off chance that I might get some of the bacteria in my mouth. If a guy has bad dental hygiene, I stay away from him.

DylanB
Post 1

I never imagined it would be possible to spread gingivitis. However, I thought it was merely plaque buildup. I didn't know that bacteria were also involved.

I have been using a gingivitis mouthwash that seems to be working. I don't bleed anymore when I floss.

I had put off seeing a dentist for about ten years. Last year, I finally got a job with some dental insurance, and I went in for a cleaning. I expected that I would have some issues, since it had been so long since my teeth had been medically cleaned.

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