During a woman’s lifetime, she’s bombarded with a roller coaster of hormonal activities and changes that begin with puberty and culminate in menopause. The years in between these two markers can be quite tumultuous, especially when hormones fluctuate due to pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Those hormonal changes can foster gum disease, which, in turn, can allow bacteria to enter the blood and worsen health issues like bone loss, fetal death and pre-term births.
A comprehensive review of women’s health studies by Charlene Krejci, associate clinical professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, has shown this link between women’s health issues and gum disease.
“There’s definitely a gender-specific connection between women’s hormones, gum disease, and specific health issues impacting women,” Krejci says.
“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 women-specific health issues,” Krejci notes.
In addition to brushing and flossing daily, Krejci recommends dental visits at least every six months or more if there are any gum problems found or women suffer from bone loss. Dental visits for pregnant women were once discouraged, but visits to remove plaque that may lead to gum disease are now recommended.