The Alarming Effects of Gum Disease on Women’s Health

by Jaclyn Taroc

The Alarming Effects of Gum Disease on Women’s Health

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a serious bacterial infection beneath the gum line that cannot be brushed or flossed away. Warning signs of gum disease can include: gums that bleed during brushing or flossing; red, swollen or tender gums; gums that pull away from teeth; persistent bad breath; pus between teeth and gums; and loose or separated teeth.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47.2 percent of American adults over the age of 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease. The numbers are even more alarming for adults over the age of 65, with 70 percent of this population experiencing gum disease. That’s 64.7 million adults 30 years and older who are currently living with gum disease. Many of you may have gum disease, and you might not even know it. The only way to tell for sure is by going to the dentist regularly and faithfully undergoing your cleanings, exams and Digital X-rays.

Effects of Gum Disease on Women's Health

Gum Disease: From Puberty to Pregnancy to Menopause

Gum disease can strike any woman and at different ages and stages of life. During puberty, an increase in sex hormones causes a woman’s gums to swell. Swollen gums are more sensitive to foods and particles that cannot be brushed away, which leads to even more swelling. Without treatment, the surrounding bone and tissue around the teeth will become damaged. Even during menstruation, the beginning signs of gum disease show up as gingivitis. It’s quite common for many women to experience sore or bleeding gums before their period begins. These symptoms usually diminish when menstruation does occur.

More alarming is gum disease’s apparent impact on pregnancy. A pregnant woman with gum disease is seven to eight times more likely to give birth prematurely to low birth-weight babies. Researchers believe that gum disease causes the body to release inflammatory chemicals linked to pre-term births. The American Academy of Periodontology recommends that women considering becoming pregnant have a periodontal evaluation.

Women taking oral contraceptives are also susceptible to bleeding gums, so it’s important to notify your dentist if you are taking the pill in case he or she prescribes something to you. Even menopausal or post-menopausal women are at risk of experiencing changes in their mouth. Many menopausal or post-menopausal women complain about dry mouth or pain and burning sensations in the gum tissue. They may also experience a change in their taste buds. Menopausal gingivostomatitis is another condition to watch out for during menopause. Symptoms include dry or shiny gums that easily bleed and are abnormally pale or deep red.

Regular dentist appointments are essential for every woman. As you age, your body and your oral health will change, and only a dentist or periodontist will be able to identify why your gums are bleeding and how to alleviate the problem. Common procedures to manage periodontal disease include scaling and root planing, often referred to as a deep cleaning, laser therapy or even gum surgery. The effects of gum disease on women’s health are real and early detection is key, so find a reliable dentist who you can trust.

Find a qualified, affordable, Smile Generation®-trusted dentist or periodontist near you today!

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