Pregnancy and Periodontal Disease
It's possible that if you have periodontal disease and are pregnant, you may be at risk for having a premature, low birthweight baby.
For a long time we've known of many risk factors contributing to mothers having babies that are born prematurely at a low birthweight - smoking, alcohol use, drug use, and infections.
Now evidence is mounting that suggests a new risk factor, periodontal disease. Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small.
More research is needed to confirm how periodontal disease may affect pregnancy outcomes. What we do know is that periodontal disease is an infection and all infections are cause for concern among pregnant women because they pose a risk to the health of the baby.
If you are planning on becoming pregnant or are at risk for periodontal disease be sure to have a complete oral evaluation with a periodontist - because a healthy mouth may lead to a healthier body and a healthy baby.
Respiratory and Periodontal Disease
It's possible that if you have periodontal disease you may be at risk for respiratory disease.
For a long time we've known that people who smoke, are elderly, or have other health problems that suppress the immune system, are at increased risk for the development or respiratory diseases like pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Now growing research is beginning to suggest a new risk factor - periodontal disease. If you have periodontal disease, you may be at increased risk for respiratory disease.
More research is needed to confirm how periodontal disease may put people at increased risk for respiratory disease. What we do know is that infections in the mouth, like periodontal disease, are associated with increased risk of respiratory infection.
If you are at risk for respiratory disease or periodontal disease see a periodontist for a periodontal evaluation.
Diabetes and Periodontal Disease
There is a two-way relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes.
For years we've known that people with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes.
Recently, research has emerged suggesting that the relationship goes both ways - periodontal disease may make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar.
More research is needed to confirm how periodontal disease can make it more difficult to control blood sugar. What we do know is that severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, contributing to increased periods of time when your body has to function with high blood sugar levels. And, as a diabetic, your know that this puts you at an increased risk for diabetic complications.
In other words, controlling your periodontal disease may help you control your diabetes.
Heart and Periodontal Disease
It's possible that is you have periodontal disease, you may be at risk for cardiovascular disease.
For a long time we have known that bacteria may affect the heart.
Now, evidence is mounting that suggests people with periodontal disease - a bacterial infection, may be more at risk for heart disease, and have nearly twice the risk of a fatal heart attack, than patients without periodontal disease.
While more research is needed to confirm how periodontal bacteria may hurt your heart, one possibility is that periodontal bacteria enter the blood through inflamed gums and cause small blood clots that contribute to clogged arteries.
Another possibility is that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease contributes to the buildup of fatty deposits inside heart arteries. If you have one or more types of heart disease, or if you are at risk for periodontal disease, see a periodontist for a periodontal evaluation.
Menopause and Periodontal Disease
If you're menopausal or post-menopausal, you may have noticed a change in the way your mouth looks or feels. These symptoms may be related to changes occurring in your body, but a clear understanding of why this happens is not yet established.
You may experience discomfort in your mouth, including pain and burning sensations in the gum tissues and altered taste, especially salty, peppery or sour. Most women find that estrogen supplements help to relieve these symptoms however, hormonal replacement therapy is contovercial and sound medical advice is indicated.
On rare occasions, a woman in menopause may experience menopausal gingivostomatitis. This condition is marked by gums that may look dry or shiny, bleed easily, and range from abnormally pale to deep red. Saliva substitutes are available to lessen the effect of a "dry" mouth.
During this period of a woman's life, professional supportive periodontal therapy and diligent at-home oral hygiene are essential. If you experience any symptoms associated with menopause or post-menopause, it's important to immediately notify your periodontist. Dr. Perlus will tailor a treatment plan to help manage your condition.
Puberty/Menstruation and Periodontal Disease
As a young woman's system matures during puberty, the production of sex hormones progesterone and estrogen increase. These elevated hormone levels may cause an increase in the gums' sensitivity and lead to a greater reaction to any irritation, including food particles and plaque. During this time, the gums can become swollen, turn red and may feel tender. Some women experience similar symptoms three to four days prior to their period due to an increased amount of progesterone in the system.
Occasionally, some women will experience menstruation gingivitis. This condition is marked by reappearing gingival (gum) bleeding, a bright red swelling of the gums between the teeth or sores on the inside of the cheek. Menstruation gingivitis typically occurs right before a woman's period and clears up once her period has started.
These conditions and symptoms tend to lessen as the amount of sex hormones decrease. However, it is important to maintain oral health during these hormonal fluctuations, including at-home oral hygiene and regular professional periodontal care, so that the bone and tissues surrounding the teeth are not damaged. In some cases, periodontal therapy may be recommended to ensure that your periodontal health is its best.