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Is periodontitis contagious?

Luckily, periodontitis is not contagious. However, if you do not practice regular oral hygiene, you are much more likely to develop periodontitis. See your dentist regularly, and ask how you can prevent periodontitis with good oral hygiene.

Carol Jahn
Dentist
Periodontitis is not contagious in the traditional sense like catching a cold. However, during activities like kissing, sharing drinks, or eating utensils, we do exchange bacteria with each other. This doesn't mean you will get the disease, but it can increase your risk if your partner has the disease. Good oral hygiene -- brushing twice a day and using an interdental cleaner (floss, interproximal brushes, water flosser) once daily can help you maintain good oral health and potentially reduce your risk.
Periodontitis may be capable of spreading from one person to another, according to a study in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA). Periodontitis is a gum infection that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. The bacteria that causes gums to become infected travels in saliva. The study found that being married to a person with periodontitis increases the spouse's risk of having gum problems. Children of parents with periodontitis also appear to be at higher risk. The researchers determined that kissing and other close contact between family members may transmit germs that damage the gums. If a loved one has gum disease, ask your dentist if kissing and other close contact is safe or off limits.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.