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Gum Disease has No Age Bias when it comes to Women

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Health Risks from Gum Disease

An increasing amount of research also suggests that there is evidence linking chronic periodontal disease to conditions such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, pregnancy problems, respiratory disease, stroke, cognitive dysfunction and several health issues affected by inflammatory conditions, like IBS and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). New research is also linking chronic periodontal disease to an increase risk for several cancers and alzheimer's disease.

Periodontal Disease in Women

Two studies  June 2007 issue of the Journal of Periodontology (JOP) suggest that periodontal diseases are a threat to women of all ages due to hormonal fluctuations that occur at various stages of their lives.

One study examined 1,256 postmenopausal women and looked for a potential association between periodontal bacteria and bone loss in the oral cavity. The study results showed that women with periodontal bacteria in their mouths were also more likely to have bone loss in the oral cavity, which can lead to tooth loss if not treated. 

“Our study’s findings are important for postmenopausal women because they suggest that good periodontal health is extremely important in the postmenopausal years,” said study author Renee Brennan, PhD. “We found that oral bone loss was associated with presence of oral bacteria. In fact, 62% of the women in our study had at least one species of subgingival bacteria present, and the women with these bacteria had more evidence of oral bone loss. Interestingly, women who had a Body Mass Index in the overweight range were much more likely to have oral bone loss associated with presence of oral bacteria. Oral bone loss has been associated with osteoporosis in this group as well. This association has been difficult to study because many risk factors for periodontal disease and osteoporosis—including smoking, age, medications, and overall general health—are similar. It should be noted that our study was limited in that it included a relatively healthy group of mostly Caucasian women and that future studies are needed to determine the effects of periodontal bacteria on bone loss in other groups of postmenopausal women.”

A second study looked at 50 women who were between the ages of 20 to 35 with varying forms of periodontitis. The study found that women who currently were taking oral contraceptive pills had more gingival bleeding upon probing and deeper periodontal pockets (signs of periodontitis) than those who were not taking oral contraceptive pills. 

“Younger women often think that periodontal disease is a condition associated with old age,” explained study author Brian Mullally, PhD. “Our study shows that it is very possible for younger women to experience periodontal disease. It is important for women to alert their dental practitioners about any medications they are taking, such as oral contraceptive pills, because it is possible that their oral health may be affected. It might also be prudent where possible for young women to ensure that their periodontal health has been checked before commencing oral contraceptive therapy.”

Gum Disease Prevention - Important for More than Looks

Periodontal; disease can not only cause teeth loss and a disfigurement to a person's appearance, but periodontal disease can increase your risk to several diseases and potentially shorten your life.

Gum Disease Prevention for Women

All women should pay special attention to their oral health, regardless of their ag, since women have special needs that relate to their hormones. 

While regular brushing, flossing daily, and a healthy diet are important for oral health throughout life, there are certain times in a woman's life when extra care is needed. Times when you mature and change such as puberty or menopause, and times when you have special health needs, such as menstruation or pregnancy are importantr times that women need to be focused on proper oral care and monitoring their oral health with proper denhtal check ups.  During these particular times, a woman's body experiences hormonal changes that can affect many of the tissues in your body, including the gums. This may make you more susceptible to gum disease.

Gum Disease Prevention - Check Ups are Important

To ensure that your gums are healthy, and that they stay health it is reccomended that all people get oral check ups where a skilled dentist or periodontist can inspect the teeth and gums. "Knowing your ‘pocket size’ depth can be a good way for women to keep track of their periodontal health; periodontal pockets of one to two millimeters with no bleeding are not a concern but pockets of three and four millimeters may need a more in depth cleaning called scaling and root planing. By manging your oral health, practising good denatl hygiene and getting routine cleanings is the proper approach for maintaining good oral hygiene and reducing the risk of bacteria from forming, causing damage, and entering your blood stream which may contribute to several inflammatory disease, including but not limited to: coronary heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and stroke, IBS, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) , and respirtaory conditions.

Gum Disease Prevention - A Lifelong Commitment

Taking care of your teeth and gums is a lifelong commitment, which should include daily flossing, brushing after meals, routine checkups, and regular cleanings. This is especially important since research proves that up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. It is also very important in light of the new studies that confirm that the bacteria associated with periodontal disease can be a potent toxin to your body and cause several chronic health diseases that can cause you pain, and possibly your life. The good news is, periodontal disease when treated can be reversed, and there are many things a skilled periodontist can do to bring back that perfect smile.

Last modified on Friday, 16 December 2011 18:52
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