In an intensive review of nearly 100 studies, a scientist found that the hormonal changes that happen throughout a woman’s life can make changes in her mouth, allowing disease-causing bacteria to breed, enter the blood, and cause serious health problems, even death.
Charlene Krejci, a clinical professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine reviewed 61 journals and nearly 100 studies to determine whether there’s a link between hormonal changes and gum disease in women. And whether these problems have an effect with specific women’s health issues including bone loss, preterm labour, and side effects associated with hormonal changes.
The results showed there is.
Gum disease happens when there’s a build-up of plaque on the teeth and gums. When left untreated, this can cause inflammation and irritation. As this happens, toxic by-products are released which erode the bones anchoring the teeth, causing the gums to break and bleed. Through these sores, the bacteria can get it inside a person’s body where they will continue to breed and contaminate.
As a woman progress in age, massive hormonal changes took place in her body from puberty to menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Said hormonal imbalances trigger the onset of gum diseases which makes the mouth a breeding ground of bacteria. Her report, entitled "Women’s Health: Periodontitis and its Relation to Hormonal Changes, Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes and Osteoporosis", was published in this month issue of the Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry.
She found a specific connection between a woman’s hormone, gum disease, and certain health problems. For instance, women usually suffer from gum disease during pregnancy. She then advises pregnant women to have their oral problems treated as soon as possible.
For this reason, Prof Krejci explained the importance of maintaining good oral health. In addition to flossing and brushing, she recommends going to the dentist at least once in every 6 months and more if there’s any gum problem diagnosed in women who are suffering from bone loss and those who are pregnant.
"Although women tend to take better care of their oral health than men, the main message is women need to be even more vigilant about maintaining healthy teeth and gums to prevent or lessen the severity of some of women-specific health issues,"
Traditionally, pregnant women are advised not to visit their dentists especially during the latter stage of their pregnancy. But Prof Krejci pointed out that scaling and planing of the roots of the teeth is already recommended to these women. For major gum disease wherein surgery is required, pregnant women are advised to wait until they have given birth.
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