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One Woman's Confession: What I Didn't Know about Gum Disease

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a woman confesses she didn't know about gum disease Auremar/PhotoSpin

That's right, just like hot flashes and PMS, a woman’s periodontal health can be impacted by increased sex hormonal changes during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, even if her oral hygiene is maintained.

And get this: Pregnant women who have periodontal disease are at a greater risk of delivering a baby that is too early and too small, according to the Academy of Periodontology.

Similarly, Charlene Krejci, associate clinical professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine found mouth bacteria that enters the blood stream is associated with fetal death.

According to Krejci, there's definitely a gender-specific connection between women's hormones, gum disease, and specific women’s health issues.

“Although women tend to take better care of their oral health than men, the main message is women need to be even more vigilant about maintaining healthy teeth and gums to prevent or lessen the severity of some of women-specific health issues,” Krejci said in an university press release.

She recommended in addition to the brushing and flossing daily regimen "that women visit the dentist at least every six months, and more if there are any gum problems found or if you suffer from bone loss or are pregnant."

Since it’s widely known that hormones cause some women gum problems during pregnancy, Krejci said that it’s advisable for women who already susceptible to gum disease to get their oral problems treated before becoming pregnant.

"Although pregnant women were once discouraged from seeing the dentist until after giving birth, she said that scaling and planing the roots of teeth to eliminate some gum disease is now recommended during pregnancy. Severe gum disease requiring surgery is still generally postponed until after the baby’s birth," according to the release.

Her overview of the literature was reported in the May 2012 issue of Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry.

Lynette Summerill is an award-winning writer and Scuba enthusiast who lives in San Diego with her husband and two beach loving dogs.

Add a Comment2 Comments

I had to get full dentures because of this disease (at around 57) so there are definite consequences. I'm comfortable with them now (at 65), but there were many years of pain, embarassment and a lot of money. Good article...thank you!

August 7, 2013 - 2:28pm

Good to see some first person dental education. Periodontal disease takes time to develop and once it progresses to periodontitis it can get very difficult to get under control.

July 29, 2013 - 9:29pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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