CLEVELAND — A review of women’s health studies by Charlene Krejci, associate clinical professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, has shown a link between women’s health issues and gum disease.
Across the ages, hormonal changes take place during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Krejci found female hormones that fluctuate throughout women’s lives can change conditions in the mouth that allow bacteria to grow, enter the blood, and exacerbate certain health issues like bone loss, fetal death and pre-term births.
The Case Western Reserve University periodontist reviewed 61 journal articles with nearly 100 studies for a collective answer on whether hormones have a relationship to gum disease and specific women’s health issues like preterm labor, bone loss, and the side effect of hormonal replacement therapy.
In addition to the brushing and flossing daily regimen, Krejci recommends visiting the dentist at least every six months, and more if there are any gum problems found or women suffer from bone loss or are pregnant. She said that it is widely known that hormones cause some women gum problems during pregnancy. Women already susceptible to gum disease before being pregnant, she advises, need to make sure that these oral problems are treated.
Although women were once discouraged from seeing the dentist while pregnant, she said that scaling and planing of the roots of teeth to eliminate some gum disease is now recommended during pregnancy for women. Severe gum disease requiring surgery is still generally postponed until after the baby’s birth.
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