People who have poor oral health often have a hard time facing up to a simple but important life activity: kissing. If you or your romantic partner has gum disease or other oral health issues, it can be embarrassing for both of you when it comes to kissing and getting close. Here are some common questions people have:
Is gum disease contagious?
Technically, gum disease is not contagious by definition. It’s caused by bacteria in the mouth that forms due to poor brushing habits or not flossing. Sometimes it’s caused by taking certain medications or through genetics. Although you can’t catch gum disease from another person, bacteria in the mouth can be spread through saliva. Kissing, sharing eating utensils or sharing oral hygiene tools can spread bacteria from one person to another.
Can bad breath spread germs?
Bad breath is normal after eating strong smelling foods, drinking coffee or smoking. This type of bad breath is directly related to the food or drink and not related to germs or oral health problems. Chronic bad breath, however, is often a sign of gum disease or other oral health problems.
What are canker sores?
Canker sores are small ulcers in the mouth, usually caused by eating certain foods or by injury from a sharp tooth, a toothpick or another dental instrument. Canker sores are usually minor, and though they can be uncomfortable, they often go away by themselves. More severe canker sores may be treated with a prescription medication. Canker sores are not contagious.
Are cold sores and canker sores the same thing?
Cold sores and canker sores are often confused with one another, but cold sores and canker sores are very different things. Cold sores are caused by a virus, and they are highly contagious. They usually appear outside the mouth rather than inside of it, and can actually appear on other parts of the body, though the area around the mouth is the most common area for them to appear. Most people get a cold sore at least once in their lifetime. Because they are contagious, kissing and sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses can spread them. As a virus, they have no cure; they have to run their course and heal on their own.
If you have any concerns or questions about oral health and how it affects the people close to you, call for a consultation. You can keep your mouth healthy and ease your fears by brushing and flossing regularly and having regular dental checkups to catch potential problems before they start.