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Gum Diseases

Contagious

10/03/2005

Question:

Is gum disease contagious? Can I get gum disease by intimately kissing a person with the disease?

Answer:

Gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis) is an infection caused by specific bacteria.  There is a risk of bacterial contamination through saliva.  There are studies showing a correlation between parents having periodontitis and kids carrying related microorganisms in the same family. Similarly, transmission of the bacteria between couples was also studied. 

Now, carrying the microorganism in your saliva and/or oral cavity and developing the actual disease are two different stories.  You may be a carrier for bacteria but not susceptible to disease. This depends on your host response to specific microorganisms and your genetic predisposition to develop the disease.

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Response by:

Binnaz   Leblebicioglu, DDS, MS, PhD Binnaz Leblebicioglu, DDS, MS, PhD
Associate Professor of Periodontology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University