Connection Between Oral Health And Hormonal Changes In A Woman’s Body

hormonal changesPhysiological balance in the mouth is of great importance for the overall health of every woman. Similarly, as the body undergoes hormonal changes during different periods of a woman’s life (puberty, pregnancy, menopause) changes also occur in the mouth. Various hormone levels affect the gum tissues and underlying bone. These changes make gums more susceptible to periodontal disease and require special care for oral health.

During puberty the young woman’s body increases production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. The natural reaction of this is increased gum sensitivity. They respond to any stimuli, food debris and plaque. So often the gums are swollen, red and bleed.

A presence of gingivitis has often been observed during the menstrual cycle of a woman. It can form sores inside the lips and cheeks, causing discomfort in the gums. This usually flares up before menstruation and symptoms reduce when it starts.

During pregnancy, a woman’s gums and teeth are affected just like all other tissues and organs. Here, however, the responsibility of mothers to maintain oral health is twice as important. The reason for this is that the presence of inflammation in the body directly affects the condition of the baby.

Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy are also a risk factor. This is because stomach acids can seriously damage tooth enamel and cause cavities. Be sure to brush your teeth after vomiting and use a suitable mouthwash. This will restore the necessary balance in the mouth.

Plaque that is not removed from the spaces between teeth can be even more dangerous during pregnancy. It contains bacteria that secrete toxins and this causes further detachment of the gums from the tooth surface. After a while, the plaque begins to accumulate more inwardly and forms a gingival pocket. This leads to swelling of the gums and they bleed easily. High levels of hormones during pregnancy can lead to the development of gingivitis. Hormonal changes during this stage interfere with the body mechanisms to respond adequately to the plaque and eliminate the inflammation caused by it.

In some cases, swollen gums during pregnancy they can react to local irritants and form characteristic lumps. Usually these growths are called pyogenic granulomas. They are benign and occur painlessly and disappear after the birth of the child.

Use of contraceptives also affects the condition of the gums. Studies show that inflammation of the gums occurs more often in women who use birth control pills. Of course, this problem may easily be neutralized by the woman if they maintain good oral hygiene.

During menopause often irreversible changes in a woman’s mouth can occur. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and bone around the teeth. It progressively decreases the gum attachment, which often leads to loss of teeth. Professional dental intervention can slow this process and can stop it to a large extent. Regular cleaning of plaque and tartar is absolutely necessary. Patients are offered alternative methods of treatment to achieve the required oral balance.

I’m Pregnant: Which Dental Procedures Should I Avoid?

pregnantIt is said that pregnancy makes a woman complete! During pregnancy, a woman undergoes a number of changes which can be either physical or emotional in nature. She is presented with a big list of do’s and don’ts. Dental procedures also fall in that lengthy list. Many women develop some type of oral problem during their pregnancy. This is because of the hormonal changes that occur within them during pregnancy. Decreased oral hygiene can cause their gums to become inflamed and there is a greater incidence of dental cavities as well. An expecting mother should realize that gum disease, if left unchecked, can cause preterm birth of the baby and result in a baby with low birth weight. Once you are pregnant, make an extra effort to keep your teeth and gums clean. This can be achieved by brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day. Flossing at least once daily keeps the interdental areas clean and decay-free.

dental procedures

The second trimester is the safest time for pregnant women to undergo dental procedures.

All dental procedures cannot be considered as an absolute NO during pregnancy. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), annual oral check-ups and routine dental cleanings are completely safe for a pregnant woman. If you are pregnant it is your responsibility to inform your dentist about your pregnancy. This makes it easier for a dentist to decide if certain dental procedures should be performed on you or not.

Ideally, the second trimester is regarded to be the safest for a pregnant woman to undergo a dental procedure.  As you enter the third trimester, the size of your baby grows and so does your tummy. This makes it difficult for you to sit for long hours on a dental chair to undergo treatment. Dentists try to postpone any type of cosmetic treatments and plan them only after the baby is born. This is the safest option for both mother and baby.

Dental procedures like root canals need local anesthesia. The pain threshold decreases during pregnancy and you can become more sensitive to even mild pain. The anticipation of pain makes the whole procedure all the more uncomfortable. Your baby experiences discomfort when you feel pain or become tensed. When you are tense the anesthesia does not work as well and you may require another shot of local anesthesia to make the procedure painless. The best method to tackle this problem is to stay calm and relaxed. Try listening to some soft music or any of your favorite songs while undergoing a dental procedure. While lying down make sure that your legs are kept straight so that the blood circulates properly to all parts of the body.

Antibiotics are used as a preventive or remedial measure in the treatment of dental infections. Amoxicillin and clindamycin are regarded to be safe for use during pregnancy but antibiotics like tetracycline should be strictly avoided as they can stain baby’s teeth permanently.

Dentists avoid Xrays during pregnancy as this can cause various developmental defects in a baby, especially during the first trimester when the process of organ development is in progress. Yet if it becomes absolutely necessary, the woman is asked to wear a lead apron before she is exposed to the Xrays.

A balanced and nutritious diet and proper personal hygiene measures will help you complete your pregnancy in good health and have a bouncing fit baby!

What You Should Know About Periodontitis and Pregnancy

periodontitis and pregnancy

Know the facts about periodontitis and pregnancy

Research has revealed that periodontitis and pregnancy are not a good mix. Did you know that pregnant women with periodontitis are 3 to 5 times more in danger of having premature birth when compared to pregnant women without any gum diseases? Did you also know that pregnant women suffering from gum diseases are 6 times more likely in danger of delivering low weight babies? These facts have been proven by various studies.

If you are pregnant or there is someone you know who is pregnant, you should be aware of this vital information about periodontitis and how it might affect one’s pregnancy.

What is periodontitis?

Well, it is a disease that affects the gums and other supporting tissues. Technically speaking, it’s an inflammatory disease which affects the tissues supporting and surrounding your teeth.

Usually it is connected with increasing bone loss that surrounds the teeth and without dental treatment this could lead to the loosening and finally the loss of teeth.

It is caused by microorganisms that attach themselves on the tooth’s surface and thrive on food remnants. There are different types of periodontitis, namely: chronic periodontitis, aggressive periodontitis, periodontitis as symptoms of systemic disease, necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, periodontal abscess, and endo-periodontic lesions.

Correlation between Periodontitis and Pregnancy

How is periodontitis connected with pregnancy? Periodontal disease starts in the form of gingivitis in which the gums swell up and turn red.

During pregnancy, there is hormonal imbalance resulting in the fragility of blood capillaries. Along with that condition, bacterial infection adds to the trouble causing the gums to become red and inflamed. The gums become increasingly sensitive and this might result in bleeding or pain.

Further, the presence of high levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones cause the gums to react adversely to the bacteria in dental plaque and in most cases paves the way to the condition of a pregnancy tumor (a benign growth of gum tissue) affecting almost 65% to 70% of pregnant women.

Usually gums affected with this kind of dental condition serve as a toxic hub of periodontal bacteria. All toxins generated by these bacteria eventually attack your gums as well as the bones around the teeth. The infected area gives oral bacteria and their toxins an easy access to your blood stream and thereby moves unrestricted throughout the body.

This way the bacteria reach and penetrate the membranes of the placenta and in the process can cause complications like preeclampsia or labor and eventually lead to premature birth.

Thus, it is vital to have a periodontal test or evaluation as a part of the routine prenatal check-up of any pregnant woman from a dental professional to prevent this.

Pregnancy is a crucial phase in a woman’s life, so avoid the risk of suffering from periodontal disease during your pregnancy. Call your dental professional and schedule an appointment for an overall oral check-up.

Researchers See Need To Improve Dental Service Use Among US Women of Childbearing Age

29764555-young-girl-on-examination-at-the-dentist-in-the-dental-clinicSome recent studies show that there is a need to improve dental service use among US women of childbearing age.  Oral disease can be prevented or improved with regular dental visits.

Researchers suggest that prenatal visits might be a good opportunity to encourage pregnant women to seek preventative dental care during pregnancy.

To read more about this study and the need for improved dental service for women of childbearing age, see here: Researchers note need to improve dental service use among US women of childbearing age – Medical News Today.

Fear of the Dentist

29764555-young-girl-on-examination-at-the-dentist-in-the-dental-clinicNew research has found that the group of people who have the most fear of the dentist may not be who you would expect.  It is women in their 40’s.  The research found that this group is more likely to have felt trauma at the dentist.  This group is also more likely to be depressed, anxious or stressed.

The study also found that people who have a great fear of visiting the dentist will usually wait an average of 17 days to make an appointment once they start feeling unbearable pain.  This is compared to the rest of the population that will wait only three days.

Another study showed that some of the most common coping techniques for fear of the dentist are distracting yourself, distancing, prayer, self-efficacy, and optimism.  If you have a fear of the dentist, you may want to try some of these techniques yourself.

Who’s Most Afraid Of The Dentist| About.com