Gum Health – How Hormonal Fluctuations Can Affect Your Gum Health
Gum can affect the rest of your body, with bacteria from the mouth traveling to the lungs and contributing to conditions like heart disease and diabetes. The good news is that it’s preventable.
Previous research has focused on clinical classifications of symptoms, but this person-centered study has highlighted how the daily perceived impacts of gingivitis can impact people’s lives. Call the pros at boca Dental and Braces now.
Poor oral hygiene allows bacteria to grow in the mouth, spreading infections throughout the body. Various diseases have been linked to poor oral hygiene, including respiratory illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia, lung disease, and even cancer in extreme cases. Brushing twice a day, flossing once daily, and visiting your dentist regularly for inspections and cleanings are the best ways to prevent these health issues.
One of the most common diseases associated with poor dental hygiene is gum disease, which can lead to tooth decay and loss and other health issues. This is caused by a buildup of plaque, which can harden into tartar and cause the gums to become inflamed, a condition known as gingivitis. If left untreated, this can progress to periodontitis, which is much more severe and can damage the roots of teeth and bones surrounding them.
Studies have shown that people with gum disease also have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. This is because the same bacteria that inflamed the gums can also enter the bloodstream and cause arteries to become blocked and hardened, greatly increasing a patient’s risk for heart attack or stroke.
Gum disease has also been linked to erectile dysfunction in men. This is because the same bacteria can inflame the blood vessels that carry blood to the genitals, making it more difficult or even impossible for a man to achieve an erection.
Researchers have also found that people with poor dental hygiene are more likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s. This is because the same bacteria that inflames the gums can travel to the brain, causing the nerve channels to degrade, leading to memory loss.
Although getting into a consistent oral care routine may be challenging, the benefits of good dental hygiene are well worth it. Regular visits to your dentist and a healthy diet and lifestyle can help you keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape, leading to a healthier and happier life.
Hormonal fluctuations are normal, but they can affect your gum health by changing the blood flow to your gum tissue and influencing how your body responds to the toxins and bacteria linked to plaque buildup. Women are especially susceptible to these hormonal changes due to life phases like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. But even those who use hormone-based birth control pills can experience these effects.
During puberty, surges in estrogen and progesterone can increase blood flow to the gums, making them swollen or tender. This can also make them more sensitive to the toxins and bacteria produced by plaque, increasing their risk of irritation when brushing or flossing. This is why females must be particularly careful with their oral hygiene during puberty.
These hormonal changes during puberty can happen again right before a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle when a rise in the hormone progesterone triggers inflammation in the gum tissue and increases its sensitivity to plaque and other irritants. This can lead to swollen, tender gums and bleeding when brushing or flossing.
Pregnancy also triggers hormone changes that can affect the gums and the body’s ability to fight infection, resulting in a higher risk for gum disease during this time. However, this increased risk can be reduced by maintaining good dental hygiene habits and visiting the dentist each trimester to ensure that the gums remain healthy.
Smoking (including cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and e-cigarettes) increases your risk for gum disease. This is because smoking introduces bacteria into the mouth regularly, which can lead to plaque growth and gum inflammation. Gum disease destroys the bone that holds teeth in place, and it can eventually cause tooth loss. Smokers also tend to have more severe gum disease and a poorer response to treatment than non-smokers.
The chemical nicotine in cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco is toxic to the gum tissue. It causes the blood vessels to constrict, reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the gums. This makes it more difficult for the gums to fight infection and heal after injury or surgery. It also slows healing after oral surgery for tooth extraction, dental implants, and gum disease, increasing the risk of complications like dry sockets.
Additionally, the chemicals in smokeless tobacco irritate the gums. This can cause the gum tissue to recede, exposing the teeth’ roots and changing the smile’s aesthetic appearance. It can also make it harder to clean the teeth properly. In addition, the sugar in chewing tobacco can erode tooth enamel and lead to cavities.
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your gums and overall health. If you need help leaving, talk to your dentist or doctor for advice and support. Additionally, you can replace your habit with healthier alternatives like exercise and healthy foods. You can also use a stop-smoking app or create distractions when urges arise, which may help you stay on track.
Pregnancy is a wonderful time for a woman, but it can also negatively affect the gums. The hormonal changes during pregnancy make the gums more sensitive and prone to disease. In addition, the increased weight of the baby can cause the gums to swell and bleed easily. These changes should be considered when evaluating the patient’s dental history and developing an appropriate treatment plan.
Gingivitis is a common problem during pregnancy. This is the mildest form of gum disease and is caused by a surge in estrogen and progesterone, which can cause the gums to become more sensitive to plaque bacteria. Symptoms include red, swollen, and tender gums that bleed when brushed. An effective home treatment for reducing pregnancy gingivitis is oil pulling, which involves swishing a small amount of oil (generally coconut) in the mouth daily for 10 minutes or rinsing with a solution made from one teaspoon of salt in warm water.
A rare condition that can affect the gums during pregnancy is a pregnancy tumor, which is also called pyogenic granuloma. These are red, swollen growths on the gum that bleed easily and are usually found in the second trimester of pregnancy. They are not cancerous, but they can irritate the gums and may need to be removed by a dentist.
Women should continue to brush and floss regularly, visit the dentist for a cleaning twice a year, and follow a nutritious diet during pregnancy. They should also talk to their OB/GYN and dentist about taking a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid and getting routine dental care while pregnant. Dentists and obstetricians agree that X-rays are safe for pregnant patients if the fetus is properly shielded from radiation.
Gum disease has been linked to premature delivery and low birth weight babies, so good oral health is essential for expectant mothers. Simple steps, such as brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing once a day, can greatly reduce the risk of gum disease during pregnancy.