How Is Gingivitis Contagious?

The facts state that almost 50% of adult American citizens are battling some form of gingivitis! That is a staggering amount, and it is not wrong for you to think about scheduling a dental exam to get your teeth checked out. But why does it affect so many people? Is gingivitis contagious? Let’s find out.

What Causes Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is an infectious condition that progresses if plaque on teeth is not cleaned timely, which causes gum inflammation. Plaque is the sticky film that forms on teeth’ enamel after mouth bacteria and sugars in your food react together. If one does not keep up with a regular brushing and floss regime, plaque hardens into tartar, collecting bacteria and irritating the gum line, resulting in gingivitis.

However, you must note that not only bad oral hygiene regimes but also factors such as smoking, hormonal changes, medications, dry mouth, etc., can be culprits.


Your gums are well equipped to show they need your help. One can feel the presence of their appearance changing. Some of the signs of gingivitis include:

  • Tender and painful gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Bleeding gums at the time of brushing or flossing
  • Bright red or reddish-purple gums
  • Tender gums when touched
  • Mouth sores
  • Swollen gums
  • Halitosis or bad breath

Is Gingivitis Contagious?

Yes, gingivitis is potentially contagious because the bacteria that cause it can spread through saliva-to-saliva contact, sharing utensils, kissing, or using someone else’s toothbrush.

Ways Gingivitis-Causing Bacteria Can Spread

As mentioned earlier, gingivitis-causing bacteria spreads from the mouth through oral contact. Here are some examples that may clear the concept:

  1. Direct Salivary Contact
    The bacteria responsible for spreading this oral health condition travels through direct contact with saliva, making it possible for the bacteria to travel from one person to another through activities such as kissing and drinking the same beverage.
  2. Sharing Beverages or Utensils
    When people do not take care of oral hygiene, share utensils, or drink from the same cup, traces of saliva containing gingivitis bacteria lead to the spread from one person to another.
  3. Using Someone Else’s Toothbrush
    Although it is not common yet, there are certain circumstances in which two people may have to share toothbrushes. Now, gingivitis itself is not contagious, but the saliva in affected individuals starts multiplying when it enters another. Not just using but also storing brushes in close proximity or accidental brush head contact can transfer bacteria.
  4. Direct and Indirect Physical Contact
    Practice washing hands. Your palms may contain bacteria responsible for spreading gingivitis, and any form of direct or indirect physical contact, such as shaking hands, can result in transmission.

Can You Prevent Bacterial Transmission?

Yes, absolutely. Here are some measures that can be of great help:

  • Proper maintenance of a good oral hygiene regimen that includes brushing and flossing regularly to eliminate plaque and bacteria.
  • Keeping up with dental check-ups every 6 months for professional teeth cleanings and monitoring of gum health.
  • Steer clear of using tobacco to prevent weakening the immune system and increasing the risk of gum disease.
  • Stay adequately hydrated with water to help clear away bacteria.

Closing Note

In a nutshell, knowing the modes of bacterial transmission can help halt the contagious spread of gingivitis. Practice these preventive measures written above and you are good to go. If you have more questions or queries, get in touch with Dr. Kirolls Ibrahim from Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry in Nashville, Tennessee, at Céline Dental for help. Dial (281) 262-2332 to schedule an appointment. Our team is just a call away to guide you through the recovery process so you can return to your normal life as quickly as possible.

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