Are Gingivitis and Gum Disease Contagious?

Are you experiencing swollen or bleeding gums for the past few days? Are you facing bad breath problems? It may indicate severe issues in your gums and oral health. Gingivitis and other periodontal diseases may cause consistent bad breath and swelling or bleeding gums. It’s time you visit a dentist in Illinois to learn what’s wrong and the treatment options.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, which causes redness, swelling (or inflammation), and irritation of tour gingiva. Gingiva is a part of the gums surrounding the base of your teeth. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease, and it happens due to bacterial accumulation and plaque buildup on your teeth, thus causing infections.

One must take Gingivitis seriously and initiate immediate treatment action. If delayed for a prolonged period, Gingivitis can lead to other critical dental complications, such as more severe gum disease or periodontitis, leading to tooth loss.

Poor oral hygiene is a common cause of Gingivitis. It can also result from saliva-to-saliva contact through sharing food or drink or kissing. Some of the other risk factors include –

  • Smoking or tobacco intake
  • Poor nutrition, such as vitamin C deficiency
  • Dryness in mouth
  • Aging
  • Dental restorations that are loosely or improperly fitted
  • Crooked teeth that are hard to clean
  • Genetics
  • Hormonal changes, especially those related to pregnancy, intake of birth control pills, or menstrual cycle
  • Conditions that affect immunity, including HIV/AIDS, leukemia, or cancer treatment
  • Certain drugs
  • Medical conditions, like certain fungal or viral infections.

How to Tell if you have Gingivitis?

Some of the signs and symptoms of Gingivitis include the following –

  • Dark red or dusky red marks on gums
  • Puffy or swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums every time you brush or floss
  • Tender gums
  • Gum recession (happens when the gum tissues pull away from your teeth, thus exposing the underlying roots).

Fortunately, Gingivitis is curable, provided you treat it on time at an early stage. Whenever you notice the red flags, consult your dentist in Illinois immediately and begin practicing good oral habits. Let not untreated Gingivitis grow into complicated issues or take a worse turn in the form of periodontitis.

Is Gingivitis Contagious?

Sadly, Gingivitis is contagious; therefore, if you know someone has it, you need to take certain precautions. The germs causing Gingivitis can spread through saliva-to-saliva contact by sharing foods, drinks, utensils, toothbrushes, or even through kissing.

You can contact Gingivitis someone in the following ways –

  • Sharing foods, beverages, or utensils: If a person with Gingivitis drinks out of a glass or cup or even through a straw, they might leave traces of saliva on it. Bacteria that cause Gingivitis may spread through saliva when someone else shares that drink or utensil afterward. 
  • Using someone else’s toothbrush: Sharing someone else’s toothbrush is highly unhygienic for multiple reasons; as far as Gingivitis is concerned, it may spread from one infected person to another if they use the same toothbrush. However, ‌people usually don’t use another person’s toothbrush intentionally; it may happen accidentally, especially when all the family member’s toothbrushes are kept in one place. So, one should be mindful in such cases. 
  • Kissing: This is obvious since there is enough saliva-to-saliva contact while kissing. Apart from your better half, avoid kissing babies, too, if you have Gingivitis, as it may spread the disease to that individual.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum or periodontal disease is an infection of the gum tissues that hold your teeth together. Gum diseases can be majorly attributed to poor oral habits, such as improper brushing and flossing. In addition, a gum infection might worsen over time due to ignorance or delay in treatment.

Starting gum disease treatment at an early stage is highly recommended to avoid the worsening of symptoms and discomfort. The early signs of periodontal disease include –

  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Shrinking or receding gums
  • Loosening or falling out of teeth
  • Tooth pain, basically while chewing
  • Tooth Sensitivity
  • Swollen, bleeding, or tender gums
  • Teeth appear longer or displaced due to the wearing away of gums.

Is Gum Disease Contagious?

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) opines that periodontal diseases are not technically contagious. But they have a chance of spreading from one person to another since the infection-causing bacteria is contagious. Like Gingivitis, gum diseases may also spread due to saliva-to-saliva contact.

Although it may not happen in one instance of sharing foods, drinks, or utensils, long-term exposure to the saliva of the person having gum disease may spread the infection. So, avoid kissing and sharing someone else’s food or drink without maintaining proper oral hygiene.


In conclusion, let’s maintain good oral habits and take all the precautionary steps to prevent the spread of gingivitis and gum disease. For example, brush at least twice daily and floss once daily to avoid the accumulation of infectious bacteria and plaque in your teeth and gums. And if you experience the red flags of gum problems, get a proper gum disease treatment to prevent further complications, such as permanent tooth loss!