Since I have worked at Cheyenne Mountain Dental Center, I have worked with many women and men. Many of them have gum disease when they have no idea they have it. Periodontal disease is just about twice as common in men as in women. It is also about three times as likely for a person who smokes to suffer with gum disease than that of a non-smoker.
In gingivitis, the gums become red and swollen. They can bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. You can usually reverse it with daily brushing and flossing and regular cleanings by a dentist or dental hygienist. Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. If you have periodontitis, the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that become infected. If not treated, the bones, gums and connective tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. This is called Periodontal Disease.
While women tend to take better care of their oral health than men do, women’s oral health is not markedly better than men’s. This is because hormonal fluctuations throughout a woman’s life can affect many tissues, including gum tissue. Because periodontal disease is often a “silent” disease, many women do not realize they have it until it reaches an advanced state. However, at each stage of your life, you can take steps to protect your oral health. A couple of things that can increase gum disease are Menopause, Puberty, Pregnancy and Menstruation. All of these effects can range from red swollen gums to tenderness and bleeding
- In Puberty, the sex hormone level (Estrogen) is increased which will increase the blood flow toward your gums which can cause more sensitivity to the gums because of the hormone level.
- In Menstruation, you have more of a increase of sensitive gums which cause bleeding, swollen or red gums.
- Pregnant women also have more of a chance of pregnancy gingivitis because of very high estrogen levels. i.e.: Bleeding, swollen or red gums
- Women who are experiencing menopause are more prone to mouth dryness, different tastes in the mouth and pain in the gum tissue.
Careful periodontal monitoring and excellent oral hygiene is especially important for women who may be noticing changes in their mouths during times of hormonal fluctuation. To help ensure good oral (and overall) health, be sure to:
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year. Healthy Gums leads to Healthy Bone in the mouth, so the same if you don’t take care of them, Unhealthy Gums lead to Unhealthy Bone which will eventually lead to bone loss.
If you are experiencing any of these problems, you need to visit your dentist before it gets worse.
Signs of Periodontal Disease:
- Bleeding gums during brushing
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Pus between the teeth and gums
- Loose or separating teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of your dentures
There’s nothing worse than your teeth falling out or having to get your teeth removed because of gum disease and bone loss. A study published in the January 1999 issue of the Journal of Periodontology reports that at least 23 percent of women ages 30 to 54 have periodontitis (an advanced state of periodontal disease in which there is active destruction of the periodontal supporting tissues). And, 44 percent of women ages 55 to 90 who still have their teeth have periodontitis.
-Tiffany (Dental assistant)