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Gum Disease: Is it Contagious?

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Contagion via Saliva

Periodontal disease is an ongoing bacterial infection in the gums and bone around your teeth.

DNA coding techniques have enabled researchers to track the path of infection from one person to another. They found that periodontal disease causing bacteria were transmitted by saliva contact between family members.

The studies reveal that the periodontal disease causing bacteria travel from the pockets around the teeth into the saliva. Transmission of the infection through saliva is influenced how often a person is exposed to the infected saliva and how susceptible they are to getting the disease.

Another study determined that saliva contact happens quite often in family settings through kissing, coughing, sneezing, sharing food, sharing a cup or glass and sharing utensils or drinking straws.

So... given all of these precautions.. how do you actually avoid the spread of disease in your own family if periodontal disease is already present?

  • Complete all recommended perio treatments. Periodontal treatment destroys or greatly reduces disease causing bacteria

  • Keep your periodontal cleaning appointments. Some bacteria in the saliva can return to the pre-treatment levels in under 6 months. Frequent cleanings significantly reduce the risk of re-infection.

  • Have your entire family screened if there is periodontal disease in the family
The transmission of periodontal disease is a serious health problem since periodontal infections are responsible for 75% of all adult tooth loss.

Periodontal disease may also increase the risk of:
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Respiratory Diseases
  • Pre-term Low Birth Weight Babies

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