Gum disease affects half of the adult population and is linked to many other health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer.
Women have a particularly unique struggle with gum disease that can impact female health over the course of a woman’s lifetime. That is why it is important for women to pay special attention to their oral health and take steps to proactively address their risks for gum disease.
Gum Disease and Hormones
Hormonal changes throughout a woman’s life can affect their gums. Increased hormones in puberty, pregnancy, and by the use of oral contraceptives can cause gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease that causes gum tenderness, swelling, and bleeding. Hormonal decreases as women approach menopause can lead to periodontitis, a more severe stage of gum disease that can cause permanent damage to gums and jawbone.
Gum Disease and Pregnancy Risks
Nearly 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. During pregnancy, women are at higher risk of periodontal disease and negative pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth and low birth weight babies when their gums are unhealthy.
Gum Disease and Illness
As women age, their risks of periodontitis rise, which can increase health risks. 70% of adults over the age of 65 have periodontal disease. For women, this statistic is concerning because gum disease is linked to health issues such as chronic inflammation, heart disease, and diabetes.
Studies also show links between gum disease and breast cancer, putting women with gum disease at three times the risk. Ties between gum disease and other forms of cancer such as lung, esophageal, and melanoma are also being studied closely.
Healthy Gums/Healthy Life
Knowing the strong links between gum health and women’s health, being proactive about your gum health is an important consideration for women throughout their lifetime. The best way to prevent gum disease is by practicing preventive care from a young age through the golden years. Visiting your dentist regularly, practicing good oral homecare such as brushing and flossing, reducing risks for gum disease, and accepting gum disease treatment when necessary can all help you maintain good oral and overall health.
When it comes to women’s dental health, it is best to understand your own risks and gum health. If you are concerned about your gums, a periodontist can offer therapies that can help you achieve optimal gum health.