Gingivitis is the mild, early stage of gum disease where your gums are inflamed due to a buildup of plaque. Hearing the word “disease” may be enough for you to wonder if it’s contagious or not. The answer is a bit tricky so let’s dive right in!
The plaque that leads to gingivitis contains lots of bacteria, and that bacteria can indeed spread through saliva. That means that if you kiss or share utensils or food with someone who has gingivitis, there’s a chance that their gingivitis-causing bacteria will be transferred to you. Other ways for the bacteria to be transferred through saliva is through coughing or sneezing.
Even though this gingivitis-causing bacteria can be transferred between people, that doesn’t necessarily mean the “recipient” is going to develop gingivitis. There are other factors at play that contribute to the development of gum disease, such as how susceptible that person is to the disease.
If someone has a strong immune system and great oral health, then they’re more protected against this bacteria. On the other hand, if someone has bad oral hygiene, has an immune system disease, or is taking an immunosuppressant, there’s a greater chance they’ll be vulnerable to the bacteria.
To protect yourself from “catching” gingivitis from someone else, the easiest thing you can do is keep up with your daily oral care and biannual dental visits. Doing that will be a big step in protecting yourself from gum disease! If you want to go a step further, you can limit how much you share utensils and glasses with other people, especially if you’re unsure of whether or not they have gingivitis.