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Dr. John: Dental hygiene, tube tying, weight increase

10:18 AM, Dec 5, 2012   |    comments
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Question #1
Hi Dr John, I am a 32 year old mother of two with excellent dental hygiene. But over the last year and a half I have had swollen and bleeding gums. My dentist says it has nothing to do with my oral care and she wants me to have blood work done to look for an underlying cause. What types of things should I be looking for? Thank you - Melissa

Answer
Bleeding and swollen gums are usually caused by poor dental hygiene. Flossing daily and brushing after meals is the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Overly aggressive brushing or using too stiff of a toothbrush can also cause gum issues.

But if dental issues have been ruled out then your dentist is right to want other things checked to see if the source can be found. Gum bleeding and swelling can occasionally be caused by hormonal issues or can occur during menopause. Of more concern are causes like blood disorders or even leukemia. Certain dietary deficiencies, including vitamin K deficiencies or even scurvy, resulting from vitamin C deficiencies can also cause this issue. The blood tests being recommended are a good starting point to try and figure out why this is happening.

Question #2
I made the mistake at age 22 of having my tubes tied after having my second daughter. Now my daughters are 9 and 10 years old and I would like to have more children. How safe is a Tubal reversal? Thank you, Mary

Answer
The surgery used to reverse tubal ligations are fairly safe procedures but their success at restoring fertilization depends in a large part on what type of initial surgery was used on the fallopian tubes. If the tubes were "tied" with clamps or rings then the tubes are easier to reconnect and the success of the surgery is higher. Techniques used to block the tubes are more difficult to reverse. But even if reversal either isn't successful or proves not to be an option in vitro fertilization is another technique available for having more children.

Question #3
I am hoping you can help me. I have been struggling with a weight increase and I have always been very healthy so I don't understand where the gradual increase in my weight is coming from. I don't have a new doctor and wondered if you could recommend a good doctor to me. I am a 41 year old female with hypothyroidism. Please, if you have any recommendations, I would greatly appreciate those. Sincerely, Tracey

Answer
A few things could be going on causing this gradual weight gain. With hypothyroidism, especially if thyroid levels aren't well maintained, weight gain can be an issue. We also tend to gain weight this time of the year because of all the holiday parties and treats we eat. The average person tends to gain 4 to 5 pounds this time of the year and usually keeps at least 1 of those pounds. And as we age we also usually end up having a weight "creep". This means we tend to pack on 1 or 2 pounds a year that we just can't get rid of. And after 20 years that adds up to a big weight gain. Getting thyroid levels checked is a good first step since that will rule that out as a cause. But also working in more exercise and maintaining a healthy diet, especially when it comes to portion control, might help as well.

As for finding a new doctor your best bet is to talk with friends, neighbors and coworkers to get recommendations from them. You can also go to the Colorado Community Health Networks website, at www.cchn.org, to find locations for community health centers throughout Colorado.

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