African-American woman in glasses shrugging shouldersAt Metropolitan Dental Care, we offer several treatments for periodontal disease in Denver. If you suffer from this condition, you may be wondering if you could unknowingly pass the disease to your loved ones. Today, your Denver dentist will discuss whether or not periodontal disease is contagious as well as explain who is at risk and how you can prevent the problem from occurring in the first place.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection under the gum line. While some cases of gum disease are caused by poor oral hygiene, it is important to understand that some individuals are simply more prone to this condition. When irritants like plaque and tartar accumulate around the teeth and along the gum line, the gum tissue becomes red, inflamed, and tender. This inflammatory response indicates a problem. If it is not addressed in a timely manner, the bacteria can seep beneath the gums and erode the supporting jawbone, leading to mobility and eventual tooth loss.

Is Periodontal Disease Contagious?

In short, the answer is yes and no. Gum disease in and of itself is not technically contagious. However, the bacteria that causes it in the first place can easily be spread through saliva. Therefore, harmful microbes can be passed through kissing, sharing eating utensils, drinking from the same cup, and sharing oral health equipment. If you or a family member is experiencing signs of gum disease, a simple periodontal examination can help protect the oral health of your entire household.

Who is at Risk?

Even though the bacteria that causes gum disease are present in your saliva and your oral cavity, research suggests that it takes prolonged exposure to become communicable. In other words, you would have to consistently share saliva with someone who has periodontal disease for a long time in order for it to be spread in this manner.

Further research studies have indicated that oral bacteria is typically only transmittable after puberty, when hormone levels foster such an environment. For this reason, it is uncommon for children to contract gum disease from an older family member. However, it is important to note that childhood habits often carry over to adulthood, so proceed with caution.

Recognize the Warning Signs

How can you know if you have gum disease? The best way is to see your dentist for a periodontal assessment. However, there are a few warning signs that are indicative of the condition, including:

  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Gum recession
  • Discomfort when chewing
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Mobility
  • Tooth loss

How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?

The best way to prevent periodontal disease in Denver is to practice healthy oral hygiene habits and attend regular dental visits. If your doctor notices signs of gum disease, he or she will recommend appropriate treatment and place you on a cleaning schedule to fit your needs. Some patients may benefit from cleanings every three to four months to keep harmful bacterial at bay.

Learn More about Periodontal Disease in Denver

If you are exhibiting signs of gum disease, schedule an appointment at our Denver, CO dental office. We also proudly serve Denver, Centennial, Parker, and Highlands, Ranch. We can help you keep harmful bacteria at bay for healthy teeth and gums. Contact us online or call our practice at 303-534-2626.