Gum disease is often called the “silent disease” because most patients do not realize they have it until it is in the advanced stage or it is diagnosed during a dental visit. Early detection is the key to both preventing gum disease and maintaining healthy gums.
Clearwater general dentist Dr. Natasha Radosavljevic emphasizes the importance of periodontal health as the foundation for a healthy mouth. The gums are the supporting structure for the teeth and gum disease can ultimately affect the integrity of the teeth- it is also the leading cause of tooth loss among adult patients.
About Gum Disease
Many patients who visit our Clearwater, FL dentist office fall within a spectrum of periodontal disease, ranging from an inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) to a chronic disease of the gums and bone (periodontitis).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that half of Americans aged 30 or older have periodontitis, the more advanced form of gum disease. It is common to experience little or no symptoms or obvious signs of gum disease. For this reason, regular visits to the dentist are critical to preventing and managing gum disease.
Common signs of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen or sore gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Mouth sores or pus between gums and teeth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Changes in the fit of dentures
Gum Disease Treatment in Clearwater, FL
Clearwater dentist Dr. Natasha Radosavljevic offers several treatment options for periodontal disease. If you have early signs of gum disease, called gingivitis, she may recommend frequent dental cleanings to restore your gums to optimal health. Additional at-home care, such as antibacterial rinses, may also be suggested to address gingivitis.
If more intensive treatment is needed, Dr. Radosavljevic may recommend a deep tooth cleaning known as scaling and root planing. During this procedure, the dentist will remove plaque and tartar from the deep pockets of the gum.
Patients who have advanced signs of gum disease, known as periodontitis, may require more intense treatment or surgery. Dr. Radosavljevic may refer you to a local periodontist for treatment.
HR5 Saliva Testing
One way that we can combat gum disease is to get ahead of it. While routine dental check-ups are a common tactic to catch gum disease, we now have the technology to test for systemic diseases in your saliva. With HR5 saliva testing, we can detect 250 diseases in your saliva, including five high-risk pathogens. These harmful pathogens can eventually lead to issues with your overall health. For example, research can connect these systemic diseases with diabetes, certain cancers, and more.
Once we identify these bacteria through testing, we can create a customized treatment regimen. Then, we can target and treat these specific pathogens to improve your overall and systemic health. If we can identify and treat these issues, we can decrease the likelihood of severe damage to your gums and oral health.
Gum Disease FAQs
What Causes Gum Disease?
Plaque is constantly forming in the mouth. If it is not removed daily by brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar. Bacteria thrive in this environment, and over time, they can develop into gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease.
Gingivitis can progress into an infection, destroy gum tissue, and eventually degrade bone to the point that teeth can become loose or missing.
What can be done to prevent gum disease?
The best way to fight gum disease is prevention. Dr. Radosavljevic encourages patients to brush twice a day and floss at least once a day. Regular visits to our Clearwater, FL dentist office will also help reduce your risk of developing gum disease.
Another important step to preventing gum disease is having a healthy diet. This means limiting sodas, sweets, and snacks between meals. Drinking water will also help reduce bacteria in the mouth.