Periodontal disease is an oral condition which involves the breakdown of the structures which support the teeth such as the bone surrounding each tooth and the fibers which anchor the teeth to the gums. Currently, it is felt that the start and progression of periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis) is determined by the body’s response to infection caused by bacteria in plaque.
Although there are many bacteria which are commonly found in a person’s mouth, there are some bacteria linked to periodontal disease which are particularly destructive:
- Actinobacillus Actinomycetemcomitams
- Porphyromonas Gingivalis
Research has been done investigating whether or not the bacteria which cause periodontal disease can be passed between people who are married through kissing, or among family members, much like the way the flu or a cold can be spread from individual to individual.
Adults with periodontal disease may indeed be a source of infection of these specific bacteria to their partners or family members. However, it is important to recognize that a person may have these bacteria in his/her mouth, but not develop periodontal disease.
How can you prevent developing periodontal disease if your partner has it? You, your partner and family members can:
- Practice better oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly after meals and before going to bed. By reducing the amount of plaque you leave on your teeth and gums, you also reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth.
- Seeing your dentist or dental hygienist can alert you to potential problems sooner rather than later. He or she can also offer professional services that promote a healthy oral condition.
See your dentist or dental hygienist if you notice any of these symptoms of periodontal disease:
- Bad taste in your mouth
- Bad breath that does not go away
- Itchy gums
- Bleeding gums when brushing
- Loose teeth
- Pus coming out of your gums
- A change in the fit of your partial denture