Can you get cavities from kissing?

Can You Get Cavities From Kissing? The Shocking Truth

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Love Talk – Can You Get Gum Disease or Cavities From Kissing?

Can you get cavities from kissing? What about gum disease? You might be surprised to learn that you might be sharing more than a kiss with your loved one.

It’s that time of the year again where we say: “LOVE IS IN THE AIR!”

Valentine’s Day is just a couple of days away, so, how excited are you?

Every year, Valentine’s Day is marked with excitement all around the world and in the most famous cities, from Paris, Barcelona, Venice, Miami, Las Vegas – You Name It!

As lovers and their families celebrate this season of love together, there’s bound to be an exchange of amazing gifts and affection. Love birds will go on dates, attend dinner parties, or go away on vacations. Families will get together to have fun and share gifts. 

But that’s not all. If you and your significant other have had your Valentine’s date planned out, we can almost bet that your perfect night out would end with a romantic kiss. 

Apart from love birds, families use this time to spread love as well. So, expect lots of affectionate kisses to be shared among family members too as a way of showing that they care for each other. And this is why we want to draw attention to your dental health.

Lately, we’ve been getting questions from readers who ask questions like – Can you get cavities from kissing? Can you get gum disease from kissing? Can you get gingivitis from kissing?

We thought it was best to discuss this crucial topic at a time when arguably the most kisses are likely to be shared worldwide, Valentine’s Day.

So, let’s find out.

Can Kissing Put You At Risk Of Gum Disease?

does kissing cause gum disease

Did you know that as many as 80 million bacteria can be exchanged from a single kiss? 

Yes, it is possible to get gum disease if you share drinks, utensils, and even from kissing. The act of kissing may not come off as dangerous but you could be putting yourself at risk. Here’s why:

You will find bacteria of all kinds in the mouth. Some of which are good and some which are bad. Among the bacteria that are considered bad, you will find those that are responsible for gum disease and cavities. If you happen to kiss someone that has this type of “bad bacteria”, it could raise the concentration of bad bacteria in your own mouth. This could cause you to develop dental problems such as cavities and gum disease.

This mostly happens if your partner or loved one does not have the best oral hygiene habits. Poor oral hygiene habits are the foundation for cavities and gum disease to set in.

That being said, it is possible for romantic partners to pass periodontitis or gum disease to each other. This can also be passed from parents to kids through kissing or partner to partner.

How Exactly Could Kissing Lead To Gum Disease?

Getting gum disease from kissing is possible but it does not just happen directly. If you have a partner with periodontitis, that’s no guarantee that you will immediately develop gum disease should you kiss them. But kissing can raise your risk of developing cavities or gum disease.

People with a poor oral hygiene routine already have a high concentration of bad bacteria in their mouths. These people could be your partner or a family member.

The dental problems that they suffer are caused by these bad types of bacteria. Such bacteria can eventually cause gum disease and if they have lots of it, there is a chance that they could transmit it to you through kissing.

However, the good news is that you won’t immediately contract some kind of gum disease just because you share a kiss with someone that has it already.  

Should You Stop Kissing to Protect Yourself? 

You don’t necessarily have to stop kissing your partner or loved ones to protect yourself from cavities or gum disease. This is totally different from how an STI or the flu works.

Bad bacteria transmission should not be seen as a direct cause of gum disease. It’s just one of the many factors that can trigger the onset of periodontitis or cavities.

While the presence of bad bacteria can facilitate gum disease, other factors that could set the stage for the development of dental problems include –

  • Poor dental hygiene habits
  • A developing immune system in the case of kids
  • A compromised immune system

So, you just have to ensure that your family and loved ones start to maintain very high oral hygiene standards. This means they should brush and floss regularly while sticking to their biannual dental appointments for teeth cleanings and dental checkups.

Important Information On Kissing Someone With Gum Disease

For parents

Protect your kids by preventing them from sharing saliva, as well as drinking glasses and utensils, with adults. Understand that their immune systems are not yet fully developed like yours. Allowing adult bacteria to infiltrate their mouths will expose them to the risk of gum disease and cavities.

When Dealing With Gum Disease Patients

Avoid kissing people who have dental problems such as open sores or cold sores. These people may be adults or children and their immune system could be compromised as well. Also, avoid sharing things like water bottles, as well as drinking glasses and utensils, with children.

For Pet Owners

Bacteria are swapped whenever you share wet smooches with your dog. Keep in mind that you are likely sharing gum disease-causing bacteria, especially if you don’t have an oral hygiene routine for your dog.

If your lover or a family member has a poor dental hygiene

If you’ve kissed or shared saliva with them, there isn’t much to worry about if you have a healthy immune system and good oral hygiene. Simply sharing a drink or kissing them will not automatically cause you gum disease or cavities. There are protective measures that you can take such as getting your teeth cleaned regularly, as well as brushing and flossing daily.


It can be pretty hard to determine how much bacteria your lover or a family member has in their mouth and the extent to which some of those bacteria are bad.

So, as you spread love and positive vibes with your significant other or family member this season, you can take steps to be on the safe side.

Kelly Hancock, RDH

Can you get cavities from kissing? Can you get gum disease from kissing?

Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.

This article and all advice on this website, Toothbrush Life, is intended to help people gain knowledge about general oral health topics. No articles or advice on this website are intended to replace professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or qualified healthcare provider to help you with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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