Females Are More Prone to Periodontal Disease than Males
Around 75% of all visits made to periodontal offices are made by women, in spite of the fact that women generally take better care of their teeth than men, and women of all ages are at risk of developing periodontal disease. Unfortunately female hormones make women more susceptible to developing dental diseases such as periodontal disease.
Hormonal Changes Which Can Adversely Affect Oral Health
The hormonal changes which take place in adolescence, during pregnancy, during menstruation and the menopause can adversely affect the health of gums. In addition hormonal changes during the menopause are well known for reducing bone density in the body, and this bone loss can occur in the jaw. It’s thought this may be one of the main causes for tooth loss in postmenopausal women.
Postmenopausal women have been found to be at greater risk of developing periodontal disease due to loss of oral bone. One study found that women suffering from osteoporosis were more likely to have oral bone loss and a greater degree of plaque bacteria, and while osteoporosis has been linked to smoking, medications and overall health, it is more prevalent in menopausal women.
Other factors include taking the contraceptive pill, and clinical studies have shown that women are at risk of developing periodontal disease at various stages throughout their lives. One study looked at 50 women between the ages of 20 and 35 who already had some degree of periodontitis, and it found that those who were taking oral contraceptive pills tended to have more gingival bleeding and deeper periodontal pockets than those who were not taking oral contraceptives.
Some women may notice their gums are more prone to bleeding just before their period, which is due to the high levels of progesterone, as this hormone dilates blood vessels causing inflammation. It also blocks production of collagen which is essential for repairing gum tissue.
Pregnant Women Need to Take Extra Care
Any woman who is intending to become pregnant should get her teeth and gums checked by her best dentist before doing so, as not only is treatment easier while not pregnant, but the hormonal changes during pregnancy can exacerbate any existing gingivitis. These changes can occur anywhere between the second and eighth month, and although the gingivitis tends to clear up once the baby has been born, it’s still important for pregnant women to have extra dental care check-ups, and they may require extra cleanings as periodontal disease has been linked in clinical studies with low birth weight babies.
There is a common misconception that periodontal disease is confined to old people, but this definitely isn’t the case, and younger women can easily develop this dental disease. It’s important that women let their best dentist know if they are taking oral contraceptive pills because their oral health could be adversely affected.
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