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|In addition to being the leading cause of tooth loss amongst adults, gum disease can have a negative effect on a number of women's health concerns. Specifically, osteoporosis, pregnancy and birth can be affected by gum, or periodontal disease.
Recent studies find increasingly strong correlations between dental health and total body health. In particular, gum (periodontal)disease is known to affect a number of whole health issues, including heart disease, respiratory infections, and diabetes. These conditions affect millions of Americans, but there are also some dental health correlations that are of particular risk to women. Did you know that osteoporosis and pregnancy and childbirth can also be negatively affected by poor gum health?
Jaw Bone Loss and Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition common to postmenopausal women which decreases the density of bones, making them more susceptible to breakage. When osteoporosis affects jaw bones, they become less dense and cannot provide a solid foundation for teeth, leading to tooth loss. A recent study of postmenopausal women found that women with unhealthy gum bacteria in their mouths were more likely to have jaw bone loss than women with healthy gums. Thus, it seems that periodontal disease speeds the jaw bone loss that can result from osteoporosis.
On the bright side, there may be a way to slow the jaw bone loss associated with osteoporosis. As a result of experiencing menopause, many women use hormone therapy such as estrogen supplementation to regulate their hormones. Studies have found that this estrogen supplementation may also lower gum (gingival) inflammation and the risk of tooth loss in women with osteoporosis.
Healthy Gums and Healthy Babies
It is well known that habits such as smoking and drinking in pregnant women can affect the health of their babies, but now studies show that gum disease can also have a harmful affect on developing babies. Periodontal disease is believed to trigger the increase of certain fluids that induce labor: women who have periodontal disease during pregnancy are more likely to give birth prematurely. Furthermore, pregnant women who have gum disease can be up to seven times more likely to have a baby that is born below a healthy birth weight. Pregnant women are encouraged to visit their dentists during their pregnancy to ensure that gum disease does not interfere with the health of their babies.
Whether you are a man, woman, or child, it is important that you take good care of yourself by eating right, exercising, and maintaining good health. Now more than ever, the importance of good dental health is recognized as a key factor in whole body wellness.
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