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The Female Perspective Series: Gum Disease

Dr. BreeAnn Christiansen

Transcribed: “Hi there! I’m Dr BreeAnn Christiansen, a holistic dentist in San Diego at Brighton Dental. Today I’m going to talk to you about gum disease and how it relates to women.

So what is gum disease? Gum disease is characterized by inflammation of the gum tissue, which eventually leads to
deep pocketing in the issues around the teeth, gum recession and in more seriously involved cases, bone less.
We may hear this referred as gum diseases, gingivitis or periodontitis. The only difference is that in periodontitis, bone loss has occurred.

Gum diseases in most cases require a cause for this inflammation. Usually plaque or tartar is present on the teeth and in the gums. Plaque most usually looks like white or yellowish build-ups on your teeth and it’s mostly particles of food debris and bacterial colonies. These bacterial colonies are what cause the inflammation and require a response from your body.

The inflammation leads to bleeding when brushing or flossing and it causes some discomfort. Eventually, this inflammation is what causes the bone loss and reduced stability of your teeth. The worst thing we can give to this plaque and tartar is time, time to grow and divide and have a lot of damage to occur.
Now, what you probably do not know is that being a woman with hormones fluctuating at predictable times month to month, you are at risk for hormonal periodontal disease. Great, right! Just when you thought you know all the other fun reasons for being a woman, here’s another.

The sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone are to blame for this menstruation gingivitis. It usually flares up a week before menstruating and clears up right when it starts. The increase in sex hormones causes an increase of blood supply to your gums and this is the cause for increased sensitivity.
In most cases, the change will not create too much discomfort if the gum disease is controlled. If not, it can get carried away and your teeth will feel extra sensitivity and your gums will start to appear more red around that time of the month.

Another cause for concern of your gum health is the use of long-term oral contraceptives. The research is still not clear, but gingivitis has been found to accelerate in women who have a long history of taking oral birth control.

I hope you’re wondering at this time, “How do I know if I have gum disease and how can I make sure I’m not giving this bacteria time to live and prosper?” There are several ways to address this.
First, it is very important that you have regular check-ups with your dentist or hygienist who will measure your periodontal pockets. What they do is use a little probe to measure the depth of your pockets around each tooth in specific sites. This is the most important way for them to determine your disease status and how to treat it from there.

Second, it is very important for you to have regular cleanings. Although you do a lot of care at home, the cleanings get those hard to reach places and it polishes your teeth, so that it makes it more difficult for the bacteria to latch on.

Following the care taken at your dental office, it’s extremely important for you to have a steady home care regiment. At Brighton Dental, we have a homemade toothpaste recipe that we recommend you brush with. And of course, flossing is the gold standard for cleaning the places in between your teeth.
We also recommend the use of a water pick with ozone water. The ozone water is useful because the bacteria that cause gingivitis hates oxygen. And so now, you’re blasting these little bacterial colonies with oxygen-rich water instantly killing the bacteria.

It sounds really tiresome, I know. But I promise you, the care you take at home will not only make it possible for your teeth and gums last your lifetime, but it may also make that middle-of-the-month flare-up a little more tolerable.

So to all my female friends, take care of your gums and I look forward to seeing you regularly for check-ups and cleanings. ”

More about Dr. BreeAnn at http://www.brightondentalsd.com/our-practice/meet-dr-christiansen/

Appointments: (619) 640-5100

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