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prevention International magazine for oral health No. 1, 2018

| systemic diseases It is not for nothing that people used to say that women gain a child and lose a tooth. During pregnancy, there is a 150 times increase in oestrogen compared with the amount during a normal menstrual cycle. This and the increase of progesterone and other hormones lead to an increased vascular permeability of gingival tissues, which promotes gingival inflammation in the presence of dental plaque. For women who have already developed peri- odontitis, the situation usually gets worse because of the changed hormonal situation. Apart from cardiovascular disease, periodontal dis- ease is known complication of diabetes. What is the risk of pregnant women with diabetes developing periodontitis? For women who already have diabetes, the biggest challenge is to keep their blood sugar under control. Independent from this, a small percentage of women develop diabetes during pregnancy. Although this type of diabetes disappears after pregnancy, these women need treatment in order to avoid serious complications. Both groups, however, have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. It is important to note that treatment is more likely to succeed if a person’s blood sugar levels are under control. Vice versa, periodontal disease also 24 prevention 1 2018 negatively impacts diabetes. Overall, it is important that women with diabetes take care of their oral health before and during pregnancy. How do you integrate all of your findings in your Oral-B seminars? Oral-B’s mission is to promote oral health and work closely with dental professionals to ensure optimal home care. Our collaboration with the EFP serves as a way to raise awareness about all matters concerning oral health during pregnancy. Our educational activities such as the Up-to-Date events are a way to communicate this and support dental professionals in their objective to improve oral health. We believe a healthy mouth is part of a healthy body and promoting good oral health during pregnancy is one way to help to achieve this. How can general dental practitioners, periodontists and dental hygienists integrate this last thought into their daily practice? It is important that they understand the connection between oral and general health, be it the link be- tween periodontitis and diabetes, as well as car- diovascular disease, or complications during pregnancy. Gynaecologists, cardiologists and endocrinologists too should be aware of this connection. That being said, many women avoid professional dental care during preg- nancy and, conversely, many dental profes- sionals are insecure about treating preg- nant patients. However, female patients of childbearing age should be informed about the importance of oral health during preg- nancy. This is especially important for pa- tients who suffer from periodontitis. These patients should be encouraged by dental professionals to undergo treatment before pregnancy. During pregnancy, non-surgical periodontal therapy has been considered safe in the second trimester. Finally, what would your tips be for pregnant women? Women who have periodontitis must seek treatment before pregnancy, whereas women who enjoy good oral health should go and see a dentist or a dental hygienist in the second trimester for a dental cleaning. Of course, they should brush their teeth twice a day with a fluo- ride-containing toothpaste—even better is an antibacte- rial toothpaste containing stannous fluoride—and clean their teeth interdentally. It is scientifically proven that electric brushes such as our Genius toothbrush are par- ticularly good for reducing plaque and gingival bleeding. Moreover, they are a practical solution for women who have less time to brush their teeth. There is no question that all mothers with a baby will know exactly what I am talking about.

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