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A healthy mouth can help maintain a healthy body: Dentist Dr Afhsan Rahmat
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A healthy mouth can help maintain a healthy body: Dentist Dr Afhsan Rahmat

Post by on Sunday, July 18, 2021

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Generally, people know oral health as healthy teeth, but bad oral health can lead to many health issues in the entire body as the mouth is the gateway to the body. The bad oral health among women, however, can lead to more health issues because of their unique hormonal changes.
In an interview with Rising Kashmir’s Correspondent Misabah Bhat, Dental Surgeon at PHC Brein, Dr. Afshan Rahmat talks about the importance of oral health among women and how it affects their overall wellbeing.
What is oral health?
Oral health means the health of the mouth. It is multifaceted and includes the ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence and without pain, discomfort, and disease of craniofacial complex (head, face, and oral cavity).
How do women’s hormones affect oral health?
Women may be more susceptible to oral health problems because of unique hormonal changes they experience at certain stages of life. Hormones affect not only the blood supply to gum tissues but also the body's response to toxins that result from plaque build-up leading to the development of periodontal disease.
How does the menstrual cycle affect oral health?
During the menstrual cycle, there is an increase in levels of hormone progesterone due to which some women experience oral changes that can include bright red swollen gums, swollen salivary glands, development of canker sores or bleeding gums. Menstruation gingivitis usually occurs a day or two before start of period and clears up shortly after period has started.
How does birth control affect oral health?
Birth control pills contain progesterone, which increases the level of that hormone in the body. These hormone changes can bring about an inflammatory response in your gums leading to sore, swollen or bleeding gums.
How does pregnancy affect oral health?
Nearly 60-75 percent of pregnant women have gingivitis that occurs when the gums become red and swollen that may be aggravated by changing hormones during pregnancy. The gums have a tendency to bleed easily and are edematous. Periodontitis has also been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes including preterm birth and low birth weight. Pregnant women may also be at risk for cavities due to changed eating habits.
How does menopause affect oral health?
During menopause, the usual rhythmic hormonal fluctuations of the female cycle are ended. There is a decline in the level of hormone estrogen which puts women at greater risk for loss of bone density- a condition called osteoporosis. Loss of bone, specifically in the jaw can lead to tooth loss. Receding gums can be a sign of bone loss in the jawbone. Other oral changes include altered tasks, burning sensation in the mouth, greater sensitivity to hot and cold foods and decreased salivary flow that can result in dry mouth.
How are oral issues related to other health problems?
Mouth is a gateway to the body. Researchers have discovered a connection between declining oral health and underlying systemic conditions. A healthy mouth can help you maintain a healthy body. The bacterial population comprises 2kg of total body weight for a normal, healthy human being.
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease initiated by bacterial pathogens. It may significantly enhance risk of certain systemic diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD) or related events such as angina, infarction, stroke diabetes mellitus, preterm labour, low birth weight delivery and respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Bacteria can spread from the oral cavity to the bloodstream causing infective endocarditis. Hence your dentist may suggest you take antibiotics as a preventive measure before they perform any dental procedure.
What are the best ways to practice good oral hygiene at home?
There are many steps you can take to keep your teeth healthy. Dental and oral disease can be greatly reduced by:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice daily (preferably with fluoride toothpaste)
- Flossing at least once a day
- Rinsing mouth with antiseptic mouthwash at least once a day
- Decreasing intake of sugar
- Eat a good diet (fruits and vegetables)
- Avoid tobacco products
- Drinking fluoridated water
- Brushing tongue to remove bacteria
- Replace toothbrush every 3-4 months
 How can a woman prevent oral health problems?
There are five stages in women’s life during which changes in hormone levels make them more susceptible to oral health problems- puberty, monthly menstruation cycle, when using oral contraceptives, during pregnancy and at menopause. One needs to pay extra attention to their oral health during these stages.
In addition to the above-mentioned tips, a woman should not skip her dental appointments while pregnant. It is safe for pregnant women to receive dental care. Just make sure you let your dentist know that you are pregnant.

Best ways to practice good oral hygiene

- Brush your teeth at least twice daily

- Floss at least once a day
- Rinse mouth with antiseptic mouthwash at least once a day
- Decrease intake of sugar
- Eat a good diet (fruits and vegetables)
- Avoid tobacco products
- Drink fluoridated water
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria
- Replace toothbrush every 3-4 months

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