Have you ever considered what you could potentially get from a kiss?
We are not talking about the casual peck on the cheek, but a lingering kiss on the lips, where exchanges of saliva abound. A single kiss can exchange up to 80 million bacteria!
Kissing can be good for your oral health, stimulating saliva and neutralising acids in your mouth. However, if you kiss someone with tooth decay and/or gum disease, you are exposing yourself to an incredible transfer of microorganisms.
Is gum disease, therefore, contagious? That would depend on your immune system, your oral hygiene and your general state of health. Technically, it is true that bacteria causing gum disease is contagious. But, are you likely to keep the bacteria long enough to cause a problem? Again, that depends on you. If you are conscious about keeping your mouth as healthy and germ free as possible, then it isn’t a big issue. On the other hand, if you are not extremely vigilant with your oral care, then it is likely that gum disease/periodontal disease can eventuate.
Treatment of gum disease may involve entire families, as parents share saliva with their children through kissing, coughing, sneezing, sharing food, sharing cups and sharing utensils or drinking straws. Also worth noting, kissing babies on the mouth is harmful to their dental health. Newborns do not carry bacteria causing tooth decay in their mouths, but they can be infected by another person’s saliva by changing the microflora in their mouths with the exchange of your bacteria.
When I am treating a patient for perio disease, I can sometimes see a similar pattern in their partner.
The importance of good oral hygiene cannot be overstated enough!
- regular, correct brushing (at least twice a day)
- daily flossing (as shown by your hygienist or dentist – based on your mouth and your individual needs)
- at least 6-monthly cleans with your dentist or hygienist (unless they say you can leave it longer) or perhaps you need more regular visits due to the presence of disease.
Without a doubt, flossing seems to be something that most people “let slide.” You must find a way of making it easier to do on a daily basis – some patients do it while watching television! Flossing is the only way to remove the plaque from between your teeth. That’s why flossing is a must. As long as the plaque is regularly removed by brushing and flossing, it will not turn into hard calculus. Once calculus forms, it can only be removed by a dental professional. Untreated calculus creates deadlier forms of bacteria if not removed, which can lead to the development of gum disease and periodontal disease, if left even longer.
It’s one thing to not consciously look after your own oral health, but it is quite another to potentially pass on bacteria and germs that can affect another person’s oral health.
So, before you go in for the big “pash,” you may want to check your date’s/partner’s dental records!
Know the one you love!
Previously we spoke about how to care for your new dental implants and how to improve your oral health and comfort after surgery. To view this blog, please click here.