Women's Oral Health and Overall Health

Is There a Link Between My Oral Health and My Overall Health?
The Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health states that good oral health is essential to good general health. And specifically for women, a growing body of research has linked gum disease to a variety of health problems that affect women. Because gum disease is a bacterial infection, it can enter the bloodstream and may be a factor in causing other health complications:

  • Heart disease: People with gum disease may be more at risk for heart disease and have nearly twice the risk of having a fatal heart attack. Heart disease is also the number one killer of American women.1
  • Stroke: One study found a casual relationship of oral infections as a risk factor for stroke.2
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease and may make it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar. Gum disease may also be a risk factor for diabetes, even in otherwise healthy indviduals.3
  • Respiratory problems: Bacteria that grow in the oral cavity can travel to the lungs causing respiratory disease such as pneumonia - especially in people with gum disease.4
  • Pregnancy outcomes: Pregnant women who have gum disease may be more likely to have a baby born too early or too small. Gum disease may also trigger increased levels of biological fluids that induce labor.4

Because gum disease is usually painless, many women may not even realize they have it until it reaches an advanced state. Your best defense is to brush and floss daily and see your dentist regularly.

How do My Oral Health Needs Change Throughout My Life?
Women have special oral health requirements during the unique phases in their lives. Changes in female hormone levels during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause exaggerate the way gums react to plaque. So at these times, women need to be especially thorough when brushing and flossing every day in order to prevent gum disease.

Other important information you should know:

  • Menstruation — some women find that their gums swell and bleed prior to their periods, while others experience cold sores or canker sores. These symptoms usually go away once your period starts.
  • Oral contraceptives — inflamed gums are one of the most common side effects.
  • Pregnancy — studies show many pregnant women experience pregnancy gingivitis, when dental plaque builds up on the teeth and irritates the gums. Symptoms include red, inflamed and bleeding gums. Prenatal care is especially important.
  • Menopause — oral symptoms experienced during this stage of a women's life include red or inflamed gums, oral pain and discomfort, burning sensations, altered taste sensations and dry mouth.
  • Osteoporosis — a number of studies have suggested a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. Researchers suggest this may lead to tooth loss because the density of the bone that supports teeth may be decreased. When combined with gum disease, osteoporosis speeds up the process of bone loss around the teeth.

    1National Women's Health Resource Center, February, 2000.
    2The American Academy of Periodontology, June 5, 2000.
    3The American Academy of Periodontology, January 17, 2001.
    4The American Academy of Periodontology, May 15, 2000.

11/15/2010

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Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.

Keep your teeth clean with an oral health routine.

Establishing an oral health routine is important for a healthy mouth. Try one of our oral health products to help you establish a schedule.