Did you know that nearly 50% of adults in the United States have a form of periodontal disease? With so many individuals experiencing gum disease, you might be wondering if it’s contagious. You also might be wondering if you have it—or how you can prevent it. Keep reading to learn about this common oral disease, if it’s contagious, and how to prevent and treat it.
Don’t have time to read the whole blog post? Here’s the answer you came here for: yes, periodontal disease can be contagious, but the good news is, it’s also preventable and treatable!
Defining Periodontal Disease
Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease occurs when gingivitis goes unnoticed or untreated. It’s caused by unchecked bacteria that leads to long-term inflammation in the gums and bone that surround teeth. When ignored, tooth loss can result. It has been linked to diabetes and even heart disease, so don’t take gingivitis and gum disease lightly!
Can Periodontal Disease be Contagious?
Now that you know just how serious periodontal disease can be, you may be wondering if it is contagious. The short answer is yes, periodontal disease is contagious because it can spread from one person to another. To be more specific, it spreads through saliva. That means the chances of contracting periodontal disease from someone else increases if you drink out of the same cup, kiss, or share utensils with them.
But don’t panic. It doesn’t mean you will definitely contract periodontal disease when living in close contact with someone who has it. It’s just that your risk of contracting it increases. Think of it this way: the risk of spreading periodontal disease increases with long-term activity, not the occasional interaction. You will be happy to know that gum disease is almost always preventable with proper oral hygiene. Keep reading to learn about the symptoms of periodontal disease and how you can treat it.
What Are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
Understanding the symptoms of periodontal disease can help with early detection and treatment. Here’s a look at the most common symptoms. If you experience any of them, schedule an appointment with a trusted dentist.
- Chronic bad breath
- Gums that bleed when brushing or flossing
- Swollen gums
- Pain when chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
Prevention of Periodontal Disease
The best treatment for periodontal disease, of course, is prevention. This is as simple as implementing the basic oral hygiene habits that you’ve likely been hearing your whole life.
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Use mouthwash daily
- Floss daily, or at least every few days
- Visit your dentist regularly (at least once a year)
- Don’t share saliva with people who have poor oral hygiene or known gum disease. Do not:
- Share food or drinks
- Share utensils
- Share toothbrushes
Small habits can’t be underestimated. Your gums and teeth will thank you if you can implement these oral habits into your daily routine. And if you’re staying on top of annual or bi-annual dental exams and cleanings, your dentist can catch the earliest signs of gingivitis before it leads to gum disease.
Periodontal Disease: Treatment Options
In a perfect world, we could prevent gum disease by following the oral hygiene guidelines above. But in reality, gum disease can happen to anyone, even with the best of intentions. And when it does happen, it doesn’t go away on its own. If you currently have or think that you have gum disease, rest easy knowing that treatment is available and effective, but you have to seek it out. Treatment will depend on the severity of your case.
Mild Gum Disease
If gingivitis progresses to the early stages of periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend a variety of professional cleanings to restore your oral health, as well as scaling and root planing. Scaling removes built-up plaque and tartar on your teeth and in your gums, smoothing your teeth so that gum tissue can heal and reattach to your teeth.
Severe Gum Disease
Surgery may be necessary in severe cases of periodontal disease. Periodontal surgery can remove hard-to-reach plaque and reduce the depth of your gum pockets to prevent future disease.
Gum disease is treatable, but you have to incorporate long-term changes to your oral hygiene habits or it will come right back. Once you have worked with a dentist to restore your gums, it is very important that you implement the prevention methods listed in the previous section to maintain healthy gums and teeth.
Get Treatment for Gum Disease in PIEDMONT, CA
Piedmont Oaks Dental can diagnose and treat periodontal disease at all stages, and our preventative dentistry services can keep your gums healthy so that disease is never an issue to begin with. We are proud to serve families in Piedmont, California, Oakland, and the surrounding areas with comprehensive and affordable dental services including preventative dentistry, restorative dentistry, and cosmetic dentistry. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.