Add gum disease to hot flashes and PMS on the list of health issues linked to changes in women's hormones.
A new review of women’s health studies by the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine has found hormonal changes that fluctuate throughout women's lives can alter conditions in the mouth that allow bacteria to grow, enter the blood, and even lead to bone loss, fetal death and pre-term births.
The analysis, published in the journal Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry, suggests dental care is key to health for women at virtually any age to compensate for the fluctuations in female hormones that take place during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.
"There's definitely a gender-specific connection between women's hormones, gum disease, and specific health issues impacting women," said lead researcher Charlene Krejci. "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 of women-specific health issues."
The Case Western periodontist reviewed nearly 100 studies to reach her conclusions on hormones and gum disease. She said the findings underscore the importance of brushing and flossing daily, and visiting a dentist at least every six months.
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of bacterial plaque on the teeth and under the gums. Untreated it can cause irritation and inflammation during which harmful and toxic byproducts are released.