Last week, we explored periodontitis (advanced gum disease) and its devastating effects on your oral health. We also brushed upon the prevailing theory that the mechanisms of periodontitis, mainly the bacteria that cause periodontal inflammation, can influence your risk of developing heart disease. For some women, this risk can be of special concern. Des Moines dentist, Dr. Burds, explains why biology makes women typically more at risk for periodontal disease than their male counterparts.
Increased Risk of Periodontal Disease for Women
A woman’s life is one of change; particularly, hormonal change. Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause can manipulate your hormonal balance, influencing and possibly disrupting many cells’ proper function. For instance, some women can experience menstruation gingivitis, which describes red, swollen, and bleeding gums that can occur right before a woman’s menstrual cycle and then dissipate once the cycle has begun. The inflammation can increase your risk of developing gum disease, which can destroy the gums and jawbone that support your teeth. Any change in your body’s delicate hormone balance can also affect your immune system, which controls inflammation throughout your body’s soft tissues. When disrupted, your immune system may not be able to adequately combat the invading microbes that can threaten your oral and physical health, increasing the risk of complications.
Pregnancy and Periodontitis
According to research regarding oral health during pregnancy, periodontitis can be a significant risk factor to preterm, low-weight birth, and periodontal treatment is recommended during pregnancy if signs of periodontal disease are present. Although more research is needed to determine the exact mechanisms by which periodontitis can influence your child’s birth, Dr. Burds advises you to undergo a thorough dental exam to ensure your oral health is up to par if you are planning a pregnancy.
Oral and Overall Health in Des Moines
To treat or prevent periodontitis, or to learn more about its possible connection to critical systemic health issues, schedule a consultation with your Des Moines dentist by calling Gateway Dental Group at (515) 244-9565. Located in the 50309 area, we proudly welcome patients from Des Moines, River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring communities.