13 surprising facts about women and gum disease. 13 amazing facts about women and periodontal disease
May 13, 2022 No Comments

13 Facts about Women and Gum Disease

  1. Women are less likely than men to get periodontal disease!

Most studies about gum disease report that men are more likely to have aggressive periodontitis. But, women may be just slightly more likely to develop late onset chronic periodontitis.

 

  1. Dental implants last longer in women

A study in 2015 found that dental implants were more likely to fail in men than women. The researchers don’t know why, but maybe it ties back to the first fact – that women are less likely to have gum disease! Dental implants placed in patients with a history of periodontal disease are more likely to fail, especially if the periodontal disease is untreated.

 

  1. Estrogen, the primary female hormone, is tied to gum disease.

Periodontal disease manifests at different times throughout a woman’s life, due to shifts in hormones.

Hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, menstrual cycles, and menopause can affect the blood supply to the gums and cause an exaggerated response to irritants from plaque. Gums may become red, tender, swollen and likely to bleed easily during chewing or tooth brushing.

 

Although not exclusive, many systemic diseases are more frequent in women compared to men. In particular, gender differences have been already proven in disorders associated with immune and cardiovascular systems, neurodevelopment and cancers.

 

  1. Women who had gum disease have a 14% increased risk of breast cancer

compared to  women who didn’t have gum disease. The percentage jumps to over 30% if the woman smokes, or has smoked in the past 20 years.

  1. Post-menopausal women who suffer from osteoporosis are 86% more likely to also develop periodontal disease.

 

The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates nearly 54 million Americans have it or the pre-condition for it (low bone mass), and that one in two women over age 50 will break a bone due to the condition. Researchers have connected osteoporosis to loss of bone in the jaw. This is because osteoporosis working in connection with gum disease will make the bone loss of the mouth much more severe. When the jaw bone deteriorates, the teeth fall out, which is a symptom associated with advanced gum disease.

 

  1. Gum disease may trigger Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that women are 2 to 3 times more likely to have than men.

A study presented back in 2018 at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology theorized that Gum disease may be a key initiator of rheumatoid arthritis related autoimmunity. In the study, individuals at risk for RA were nearly twice as likely to have gum disease.

The antibodies associated with RA are present in the body before the disease exhibits any signs. This suggests that the antibodies don’t start in the joints affected by RA, but rather come from somewhere else in the body and then find their way into the joints. The specific antibodies associated with RA are a response to an enzyme created by the oral bacteria that triggers gum disease (P. gingivalis).

Thus, having gum disease can lead to earlier onset, faster progression and greater severity of RA, including increased damage to bone and cartilage.

 

  1. Lupus is significantly associated with periodontal disease.

Similar to gum disease, lupus is an inflammatory disease that causes your body’s immune system to attack your own tissues. Anyone can develop lupus, but it affects women more often than men. In fact, 9 in 10 people with lupus are women. One study published in 2019 linked higher lupus disease activity to bacteria originating from periodontal disease. Additional studies have also indicated lupus may lead to a higher risk of gum disease. However, it’s also possible that gum disease may lead to the development of lupus!

 

Periodontal disease and the oral-systemic connection in women also has serious implications for fertility and pregnancy.

 

  1. Women with gum disease are at seven times greater risk of preterm birth or low birth weight.

Researchers have linked periodontitis to a risk for pre-term delivery (PTD) and premature and low-birth-weight (PLBW) babies.  Studies indicate that the infection present in the oral cavity gets into the blood stream and can target the fetus. When they cross the placenta, the bacteria create toxicity in the womb and cause early delivery.

 

  1. Pregnant women with periodontal disease are more likely to experience preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-specific disease which is characterized by hypertension and increased levels of protein in the urine. Proteins should remain in the blood, so finding increased levels in urine could be a sign of kidney damage. This disease occurs in about 2-8 % of pregnancies and is among the major causes of maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity throughout the world. Several epidemiological studies have found an association between periodontal disease and preeclampsia.

 

  1. Gum Disease can make it harder for women to become pregnant

Chronic periodontitis is gaining awareness as a key contributor to systemic wellness. The time to conception is another aspect of systemic health that is impacted by gum disease. Multiple studies across different races demonstrated that women with chronic periodontitis took longer to become pregnant.

The possible biological explanation is that periodontitis causes a systemic inflammation, which could: a) prevent ovulation; b) prevent implantation of the embryo or does not sustain its implantation.

  1. Women with gum disease are nearly 50% more likely to develop Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

PCOS females have 28% more risk towards periodontal disease, and females with gum disease have 46% more risk to have PCOS. PCOS females with PD had higher gum bleeding, periodontal pocket depth and clinical attachment loss than non-PCOS females with PD

 

  1. Women without gum disease live longer!

Women with periodontal disease have a 12% higher risk of premature death from any cause![7] Another study found that women with cardiovascular disease and periodontal disease has a 17% higher mortality rate than women without periodontal disease. 

 

  1. Many classic studies about gum disease didn’t include women!

After the unethical experiments during WW2, there was a need for laws to protect human subjects and women were not allowed to participate in clinical trials. It was commonly thought there was “no difference” and that including females might create “unnecessary hormonal noise.”

In 1986, the National Institute of Health (NIH) encouraged but did not require the inclusion of women in clinical studies. The Office of Research on Women’s Health, the Revitalization Act law in 1993 outlining the inclusion of women and minorities, as well as an NIH policy in 2015 requiring studies to justify single-sex research protocols, that women were routinely included in clinical studies.

However, we now know that men are significantly more likely harbor periodontal pathogens in saliva and beneath the gums. There are also sex-specific differences in the bacteria in the gut microbiome and sex chromosomes play a role in the immune response.

Food for Healthy Teeth and Gums
March 10, 2022 No Comments

Top foods for healthy teeth and gums

We have all heard the saying “you are you what you eat.”  The idea that what we eat can affect our health is not new.  For National Nutrition Month, we wanted to know what specific foods can help our teeth and gums stay healthy.  Here is what we’re putting on our next charcuterie board!

Fresh Fruits and Veggies

March is national nutrition month.

Ok, this isn’t exactly a shocker.  The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Dental College explains that beyond the nutritional benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables, they have an added teeth-cleaning benefit.  Chewing on crunchy foods produces more saliva, which can help prevent the formation of plaque on your teeth.  The bacteria that trigger gum disease embed into plaque and create an imbalance in your mouth.  Keeping plaque from forming is a proactive way to help prevent periodontal disease.

Cheese

Cheese is consistently found in the lists of top foods for healthy teeth.  (Woohoo!)  Cheese tends to be low in sugar, high in calcium, and contains casein.  These three features work really well together for keeping your teeth healthy.  Bacteria feeds on sugar, so eating foods naturally lower in sugar can keep the bacteria in your mouth at normal, healthy levels.

Calcium helps keep your bones strong – including your jawbone (alveolar bone).  American Bone Healthy explains it pretty simply. When your body creates bone, it starts with a framework of collagen. Then hard calcium crystals fill in the collagen framework to create strong bones. Almost every cell in your body needs calcium to function and if there isn’t enough calcium available, the cells will suck it out of your bones.

So how do we get calcium? This is where casein comes into the picture. Casein is a complete protein that contains all of the essential amino acids our bodies need. The Wisconsin Center for Dairy research notes that casein is a storage protein and a carrier protein found primarily in milk.  It stores the protein calcium in order to deliver it from a mother to children via milk.  So, the protein casein delivers the calcium found in milk that we need to maintain bone density.

Apples & Pears

Eating apples and other fibrous fruits can help clean your teeth and also increase saliva to keep your acid levels neutral.  Fresh apples are the best; dried apples can be sticky and adhere to your teeth while apple juice is notoriously high in sugar.

Raw pears are also good for your teeth.  While pears are naturally sweet, they also have high water levels that will help dilute the sugar.  Pears are also a great source of vitamin C, and unlike citrus fruits better known sources of vitamin C, pears are less acidic and less likely to damage your enamel.  Powerhouses of nutrition, pears contain fiber to help with digestion; flavonoids to help prevent type 2 diabetes; antioxidants which help prevent heart disease and cancer; and potassium that regulates heart rate and blood pressure.

Roasted Peanuts, Raw Walnuts & Edamame

One overlooked, but important nutrient in keeping our gums and teeth healthy, is CoQ10. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that our bodies produce naturally and is used for growth, maintenance, and controlling inflammation.  As we age, we produce less of this important anti-inflammatory substance.  We know periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease – the pathogenic bacteria and endotoxins incite an inflammatory response. Your body tries to fight the inflammation by getting rid of the source – in the case of periodontal disease, your body tries to get rid your teeth.

Roasted peanuts, raw walnuts and soybeans (edamame) are some of highest plant-based sources of CoQ10.

 

Now that we know what foods can help keep our teeth and gums healthy, we just need to figure out what wine to drink with our charcuterie board.

March 4, 2021 No Comments

Genetics and Gum Disease

The data you get from your mom and dad that determines your eye color and height also plays a role in the health of your mouth! Genetics affects the onset and the progression periodontal disease. While gum disease does run in families, it’s not as quite as simple as other genetic traits like curly versus straight hair. So what is the role of genetics and gum disease?

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Gum Disease & Other Illnesses - Valentine for Your Mouth
February 14, 2020 No Comments

Valentine’s Day Special: The Connection Between Gum Disease and Other Illnesses

Candy hearts – the tried and true method of demonstrating your affection for someone on Valentine’s Day. As the years have gone by, the phrases may have been updated to fit modern slang, but the message remains the same: “I like you!”

If the elements that make up your body could give candy hearts to one another on Valentine’s Day, would they? One thing’s for sure, if you’re keeping up to date on your oral health and treatment of gum disease, your mouth is sure to have a full box of love notes on the big day. Why? Because of the connection between gum disease and other illnesses.

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Gum Disease and Pregnancy: What to Know
January 3, 2020 No Comments

Gum Disease and Pregnancy: Why Your Oral Health Matters When You’re Expecting

Gum disease and pregnancy are not two subjects you might expect to go hand in hand, but if there’s anything we’ve learned in educating ourselves and others about gum disease, it’s that it can have surprising and drastic effects on the rest of your health. Because the mouth is an entry point to the rest of your body, bacteria from gum disease can actually travel from your gums and teeth to other parts of your body and begin wreaking havoc.

When it comes to gum disease and pregnancy, the health of both the mother and the baby are at risk. Because pregnant women are already likely to have gum disease due to hormonal changes, it’s especially important to stay on top of your oral health so the following side effects of gum disease don’t impact your pregnancy and child’s life in infancy and beyond.

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Laser Gum Disease Treatment FAQs
December 26, 2019 No Comments

Laser Dental Treatment FAQs: Come Prepared to Your Dental Appointment

We’ve talked to you at length about the importance of getting your gum disease treated – not only to save your smile but also because of the very real consequences leaving it unchecked can have on your total health.

After education comes the decision-making time – how will you address gum disease? If you’ve seen a doctor and been diagnosed, you know that “doing nothing” is not going to make the problem resolve itself. You have a handful of options with regards to surgery, but more and more patients are opting for laser gum disease treatment because of its minimally invasive nature. Laser gum disease treatment is an alternative to painful methods that may require extensive pain management and downtime.

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Gum Disease & Women's Health
October 15, 2019 No Comments

Gum Disease and Women’s Health: A Consideration for a Lifetime

While dental professionals consider gum disease to be an epidemic among adults in general, the struggle between gum disease and women’s health is particularly noteworthy because of the various unique ways periodontal disease can impact female health.

Hormones & gum disease

Increases in hormones due to pregnancy or the use of oral contraceptives can make women more sensitive to plaque and bacteria in the mouth and accelerate the progression of gum disease. Even a standard menstrual cycle or the onset of puberty – when there are increased levels of progesterone and estrogen in the body – can cause a heightened response to bacteria that can impact your oral health if left untreated.[1][2] Pregnant women with gum disease run the risk of passing along the burden to their children, with preterm, low weight babies and even stillbirth linked to untreated cases.[8]

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May 21, 2019 No Comments

Are Gum Disease and Stroke Related? Exploring the Evidence

Having a stroke is something that is terrifying in theory, yet may feel a long ways off if you are under a certain age. The fact, though, is that it isn’t just the elderly that are susceptible to the potentially life-threatening dangers of strokes.

Similarly, gum disease isn’t something that many people — of any age — seem to spend much time worrying about. Because of its relatively mild symptoms and lack of pain, people tend to shrug off the diagnosis as unimportant. However, untreated gum disease can lead to bleeding and sore gums, bad breath and even lost teeth. There is also evidence that the bacteria in gum disease may be related to other systemic health problems.

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