Gum disease is not contagious! Its down to many factors, two of the main ones being genetics and oral hygiene.
Gum disease is your own body's response to the presence of bacteria and bacterial toxins in plaque on your teeth. Different people show a different degree of immune response. It depends on your genes. At the same time, stringent oral hygeine (by twice a day brushing all of your teeth, gums, tongue and roof of mouth with a fluoride containg tooth paste, flossing and fluoride mouthwashing) will definitely ward gum disease off. A visit to your hygienist for a good deep clean will help and he/she can give you good advice on toothbrush technique.
Also chlorhexidine mouthwashes are AMAZING at killing many bacteria that cause gum disease. it is different from most mouthwashes in that it actually kills a large amount of bacteria. it shouldnt be used more than,say, twice a week though because it can lead to slight staining of your teeth. in my opinion it's a great substance and i recommend it to all my patients with gum disease and bad breath problems.
Hey, thank you for your response. Are you a dentist? a hygenist? Anyway, I was wondering what the symptoms of having wisdom teeth problems were. I have a swollen gum right under my bottom left canine tooth and it is hard, not soft and squishy so I'm curious as to what it is. Is it a possible sign of cancer because I have been chewing tobacco for about 3 years and about two tins a week. It's not much or for very long so I'm thinking that probably isn't the case. Or is it possible to have it that soon? Anyway, you seem really knowledgeable and if you could answer those questions for me that would be great.
I have read that gum disease can be passed between couples. Here's what I saw:
"Periodontal disease may be passed from parents to children and between couples, according to an article in the September 1997 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association. Researchers suggest that bacteria causing periodontal disease are passed though saliva. This means that when a family or couple come into contact with each other's saliva, they're at risk for contracting the periodontal disease of another family member. Based on this research, the American Academy of Periodontology recognizes that treatment of gum disease may involve entire families. If one family member has periodontal disease, the AAP recommends that all family members see a dental professional for a periodontal disease screening."
However, could it be possible that you both just have the same habits, such as not flossing enough?
Bacteria themselves can be passed on during kissing but again, it's the body's response to this and oral hygiene that determines whether you get gum disease or not. Also smoking/chewing tobacco is the other big cause.
I can't imagine that huge amounts of the periodontal disease-causing bacteria would be passed on though, because the kind of bacteria that cause gum disease are gram negative anaerobes, ie-they can only survive in deep plaque below the gum line. Once they're out of the shelter of your gum pockets and exposed to oxygen (saliva has dissolved oxygen in it), they don't survive too well and then in the persons mouth you're kissing, they'd have have to find their way down that person's gum pockets and penetrate through any plaque there. I'll ask my professor of periodontology on monday (sure, i am going to feel a little odd, but i'd like to know for sure too).
The only way i can think that the conclusion of the study quoted above was formed is that decay causing bacteria (such as Strep. mutans) CAN be passed through saliva contact as that one isnt so bothered about oxygen presence. this is usually one of the first bacteria to start forming plaque on your teeth. then the longer the plaque stays there, the deeper it gets which is why more and more gram negative anaerobes such as Fusobacterium start populating the plaque nearer to the tooth surface causing the disease. I would have to read the study but i think this is the most likely explanation of it.
But in any case,however the bacteria has managed to thrive in your mouth, the sure-fire way of avoiding gum disease is good oral hygiene and no tobacco!! Good luck with that!
As for the bump on your gum, I would get a dentist to check it as I can't see it for myself, I'm reluctant to try and diagnose it for you! You are right, chewing tobacco (and smoking it) is a big factor in oral cancer but the prevalance of oral cancer in the US and UK is beween 2-4% and usually occurs in people who have smoked for years and years and who are over 50 yrs of age,so please don't go worrying yourself. At the same time, rarely, cancer can hit anyone at any age. It could be a chronic abscess as these can be painless. To put your mind at rest though please do see a dentist, the earlier any problem is detected, the more success you get with treatment. Good luck with that too!
So about the wisdom teeth thing. I have pain in my jaw, mainly in the back but there is a few spots near the front that are sore when I touch them. Could this be cause from wisdom teeth. My gums aren't swollen near where my wisdom teeth would be but can they be causing problems and not be swollen. Like if they were just growing into the teeth beside them. Also could this cause neck pain and headaches. What exactly are a lot of the symptoms associated with wisdom teeth problems. Thank you for your help. Oh yeah, I am going to the dentist I just can't get in until next week. I'm also 20 so it would probably be the right time to start getting my wisdom teeth and if they aren't coming out of my gums they gotta be growing somewhere right?
I dont think a wisdom tooth problem would cause gum problems at the front of your mouth. You might just have gigivitis at the front of your mouth which can be cleared by good brushing and mouthwashing and flossing (see my previous pots!) Wisdom teeth usually erupt between the ages of 18-21 so you should be expecting them soon, you're right. But they are pretty temporamental too so could take years.
Aching jaws can be a sign of wisdom tooth problems but it can also be a sign of clenching your jaws whilst you're sleeping. A common problem with wisdoms is growing sideways into the toot in front (impaction) which does hurt, i know cos i've got that! it makes cleaning the 2 teeth concerned near impossible too. get your dentist to take a DPT/OPG x-ray which can show the position of your wisdom teeth to see if this is the case. if they're causing you real bother, get them extracted when they're through, but only if they're causing you bother because there are complications associated with the surgery.
Either way I'm sure your dentist will be able to shed more light with x-rays.