Effects on Women

Effects of Pregnancy & Puberty

A MULTITUDE OF REASONS TO CONSIDER HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY

active women walkingCHICAGO- August 30, 1999- As research published today in The Journal of Periodontology indicates, women who take supplements of estrogen within a five year window of experiencing menopause are on the right track to the prevention of periodontal disease and the protection of their teeth.

Periodontitis is more common than expected, with over 50% of Americans over 55 having the disease. After menopause, lowered levels of estrogen, along with the development of osteoporosis, increase the incidence of bone disintegration in the mouth. This bone loss eventually causes teeth to fall out, and can be prevented through regular supplementation of estrogen.

In fact, osteoporosis affects nearly 25 million older women in America. As an extra measure to slow the progression of bone loss, estrogen supplementation is highly recommended. Besides its benefits of preventing bone loss and periodontitis, estrogen supplementation can reduce the frequency and degree to which hot flashes, irritability, and other such symptoms of menopause occur while simultaneously decrease a patient’s chances of developing coronary artery disease.

RESEARCH PRESENTED TODAY PROVIDES FURTHER EVIDENCE ON THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD ORAL HEALTH IN PREGNANT WOMEN

WASHINGTON, D.C.- May 7, 2000- Premature babies are now being linked to their mother’s oral hygiene- according to a study conducted on over 2,000 expecting women, periodontal disease increases the chances of an early delivery.

As past research suggests, the prevalence of gum disease in a mother can make her seven times more likely to deliver a premature baby with low birth weight. Research uncovered today in Washington, D.C.’S American Academy of Periodontology’s Specialty Conference on Periodontal Medicine indicates that expecting mothers experience a higher chance of delivering a premature baby with a higher incidence of periodontal disease. In order to ensure accurate findings, the women surveyed were not tobacco users or alcohol consumers, other possible risk factors for premature birth. For women with generalized periodontal disease, in which 30% or more of the mouth is infected, rates of premature births are significantly increased.

In America, approximately one fourth of premature babies are delivered without knowledge of any possible risk factors.

Protecting Oral Health Throughout Your life

Women require specific medical attention, especially during menstruation and pregnancy and even during puberty and menopause. In general, women are aware of their unique health concerns. Still, many women are not aware that, during these times marked by changes in your body, oral health is also important to monitor.

The fluctuating level of hormones present in the female body affect more than the general areas of the body and internal organs, they also affect the mouth and gums. According to research published in the Journal of Periodontology, periodontitis is prevalent in over 23% of women ranging in age from 30-54. This number only increases with age, as the disease affects 44% of women studies between the ages of 55-90.

Finally, it is highly recommended that women regularly consult their dentists to check for the progression of gum infection and disease, as the symptoms are often non-apparent.

Puberty

Levels of progesterone and estrogen, sex hormones, peak during puberty, leading to a heightened degree of blood circulation to the gums. In turn, certain foods and the build-up of plaque may cause irritation to the increasingly sensitive gum tissue, often causing gums to swell and redden.

It is essential to uphold specific dental hygiene patterns, to brush and floss your teeth on a daily basis, and to schedule frequent dental appointments. If symptoms are particularly painful, periodontal therapy may be an option to ensure that tissues and gums remain largely unaffected. Still, as the stages of puberty continue, the occurrence of swelling and tenderness in a young woman’s gums significantly decreases.

Menstruation

Menstruation gingivitis, whose side affects include bleeding/ swollen gums and sores lining the insides of the cheeks, is not uncommon in women. The condition usually appears just before a woman starts her period, and should subside by the time menstruation has started.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy may trigger a heightened vulnerability to gingivitis throughout pregnancy, particularly during the 8th month. Gum tissue may redden or swell, and large lumps can form in response to particular irritants. These pregnancy tumors usually display no symptoms and are not cancerous. However, if the growth fails to disintegrate, professional removal may be required. Contact Dr. Raschkovsky for any questions or concerns.

Moreover, research has validated a connection between premature births and the development of periodontal disease. Like any other infection present during pregnancy, periodontal infection must be treated seriously and cautiously. Periodontal disease can increase the risk of delivering a premature baby with low birth weight by as much as seven times. Therefore, it is important to test for periodontal disease before becoming pregnant to take precaution in preventing the chance of a premature birth.

Redness, bleeding, and swelling of the gums may be noticed in women who take oral contraceptives. It is important to be aware that the effectiveness of oral contraceptives, if simultaneously taken with other drugs or antibiotics for gum disease, may be less efficient.

More information about pregnancy and periodontitis.

MENOPAUSE AND POST-MENOPAUSE

Irritation in the mouth may occur in women undergoing menopause or in women who are post-menopausal. Such problems that can arise are a dry mouth, sensitivity to salty, peppery, or sour foods, and pain felt in gum tissue.

Though uncommon, menopausal gingivostomatitis may develop in some women. Taking supplements of estrogen may reduce observed symptoms, including dry or shiny gums that are overly sensitive and vary in color from pale to dark red.

Recent studies are discovering a link between osteoporosis and periodontal disease to bone loss. Therefore, Hormone Replacement Theory may provide more beneficial results for women, as HRT can prove advantageous to slowing the progression of both osteoporosis and preserve the health of teeth.

More information about Hormone Replacement Therapy and Periodontal Disease.

STEPS TO PROTECT ORAL HEALTH

Women who experience symptoms of hormonal changes are encouraged to brush and floss their teeth on a daily basis and frequently receive periodontal monitoring. To further guarantee good oral hygiene:

  • It is important to visit your dentist four times annually to receive a professional cleaning.
  • Contact Dr. Raschkovsky if you notice any of the following problems with your gum tissue
    • Gum sensitivity and bleeding while brushing
    • Red, swollen, tender gums
    • Gums that appear distanced from teeth
    • Constant foul breath
    • Pus apparent between gums and teeth
    • Teeth that are becoming loose from their sockets
    • An altered feeling when you bite
    • A change in the way your dentures fit

Be sure to inform your dentist if you are taking any medications or have a history of health problems. Daily brushing and flossing is essential. To review brushing and flossing techniques, contact your dentist.