Is Periodontitis Contagious?

Written by Heather Siler

Periodontitis is an ongoing infection which affects and destroys the soft tissues and bone supporting the teeth. Studies reveal that the bacteria that causes this infection lives in the saliva and can be passed from person to person. The pathway of transmission is believed to be among family members through kissing, sneezing, sharing glasses and utensils, and sharing food.

Technically speaking, the odds of contracting periodontal disease from another person is rare, but taking steps to protect yourself and your family is prudent. Following are some helpful tips:

  1. If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, complete all recommended treatment. Treatment greatly reduces the harmful bacteria living in your mouth.
  2. After treatment, be faithful to your maintenance regiment. Keeping the harmful bacteria suppressed in your mouth is important.
  3. Make sure each family member sees the dentist at least twice per year for prophylaxis and examination. Not only will this ensure optimal health, but also provide for early diagnosis if periodontal disease is suspected.
  4. Encourage optimal oral hygiene habits for the entire family. Provide appropriate essentials such as toothbrushes, dental floss, mouthwash, and interdental aids.
  5. Keep sharing glasses, utensils, and food to a minimum.

Having periodontal disease doesn’t mean you can’t have close contact with your family. Your dental professional can give you further instruction based on the level of disease present in your case.