Recent studies published by the American Academy of Periodontology reveal that women have a greater risk of developing gum disease. Why is this, and how can you safeguard yourself against periodontal disease. Dr. Ryan Hussong, who treats gum disease in Polk City, IA, shares his insights and recommendations.
An Issue of Hormones
One of these studies, conducted by Case Western University, identified that this risk is linked to female sex hormones. Because women’s hormones fluctuate throughout their entire life, they must safeguard themselves against gum disease at any age. The most notable changes occur during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. As hormone levels change, they affect the conditions of your mouth, sometimes making your mouth more hospitable to bacteria that can enter your bloodstream. When this occurs, you may experience intensified health problems, such as bone loss.
Ladies, Protect Yourself From Gum Disease
Most preventive measures apply to women and men alike. Regular dental checkups and professional cleaning at Cornerstone Dental will reduce your risk and allow Dr. Hussong to detect symptoms and early warning signs of gum disease. Gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, can easily progress to a more severe infection called periodontitis. Periodontitis is considerably more difficult to treat than gingivitis, and it is not reversible. Dr. Hussong also recommends taking the following steps:
- Practice excellent oral hygiene at all times. Brushing twice daily and flossing once a day is advisable, but brushing after each meal is preferable. Rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash, and use a water pick if you have one.
- Twice-yearly dental exams and cleanings are standard, but Dr. Hussong may recommend more frequent visits—every three to four months, for example—especially if you are pregnant or menopausal. Research shows a connection between gum disease and pre-term birth, and between gum disease and low birth weight.
- Abstain from smoking or using tobacco products. Tobacco users have a significantly higher risk of developing gum disease than non-users, likely because these unhealthy habits impair the body’s ability to heal itself. Smoking also dries out mouth tissues, increasing your risk of tooth decay.
Know the Symptoms of Gum Disease
If you notice any of the following symptoms, contact our office as soon as possible:
- Gums that appear red and puffy
- Bleeding gums when you brush your teeth
- Persistent bad breath or unpleasant taste in mouth
- Receding gums that make your teeth appear longer
When was your last dental checkup? To learn more about gum disease, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryan Hussong, contact Cornerstone Dental at (515) 984-6001. We are pleased to serve patients living in Ames, Ankeny, Alleman, Grimes, Des Moines, and the surrounding areas.