When we think about oral health, our teeth are the first things that come to mind. For some people, teeth may be the only things that come to mind! But, if you think about it a little longer, you’ll begin to realize there is so much more to your mouth—the gums, tongue, palate, floor, and cheeks.
While cavities are at the top of the list of oral health problems, periodontal disease is a close second, and it is the number one cause of tooth loss. Also called gum disease, periodontal disease is usually caused by poor oral hygiene that causes plaque to build up and remain along the gum line. The plaque turns into tartar, and over time, the hard substance eats away at the gum and bone. Bleeding and irritated gums, loose teeth, bad breath, and tooth loss happen as a result.
These symptoms are the same for almost every person with gum disease. However, it affects men and women much differently. Continue reading to learn more.
Gum Disease & Men
Studies show that gum disease is higher in men by almost 20 percent. The reasons for this are unclear but presumably because men are less likely to prioritize their oral health. Poor oral hygiene involves not brushing and flossing appropriately, not visiting the dentist every six months, and making poor diet choices.
For men, periodontal health is especially important because it can impact various parts of their overall health. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, the most common effects of periodontal disease in men include:
- Prostate health: Periodontal disease and prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) seem to go hand-in-hand. Studies have shown that men with both diseases have higher levels of an enzyme called prostate-specific antigen. Which one causes the other seems to be unclear.
- Heart disease: Gum disease can increase your risk of heart disease because they are both chronic inflammatory conditions.
- Impotence: Prolonged inflammation in the body is directly related to impotence because it causes damage to blood vessels.
- Cancer: Men with chronic periodontal disease are 14 percent more likely to develop cancer than men with healthy gums. They are also much more susceptible to kidney, pancreatic, and blood cancers than women.
Periodontal Disease & Women
For women, periodontal disease can be triggered by the hormonal changes and imbalances that occur during puberty, menstruation, menopause, and post-menopause. During these times, women may notice that their gums are irritated or swollen. The symptoms should subside once their hormones levels balance or lower.
Additionally, pregnant women with periodontal disease may be at risk for early labor. For this reason, dentists recommend pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant receive a periodontal evaluation.
Women who experience changes to their gum health during these times should pay close attention to oral hygiene and their eating habits to lower their risk of developing gum disease. Dentists may also recommend more regular dental cleanings and supplements to help ward off the disease.
Treatment for Periodontal Disease in Salinas, CA
Diagnosing and treating gum disease is one of Dr. Russell Cureton’s specialties. He and his talented team of hygienists and assistants understand how serious periodontal disease can be and work diligently to ensure every patient avoids or overcomes it.
To learn more about how to avoid gum disease or how we treat it, call (831) 449-8363 to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Cureton.