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Periodontitis in Women

Periodontitis in Women

A study published in the Journal of Periodontology (January 1999) indicated that a minimum of 23% of women between the ages of 30 and 54 have periodontitis, advanced gum disease or periodontal disease in which the periodontal supporting tissues are actively being destroyed. Among women between the ages of 55 and 90 who still retain their teeth, 44% have periodontitis.

Due to an increased level of sex hormones, women during puberty experienced increased gum sensitivity and are thusly prone to swollen, red or tender gums. Oral hygiene and perhaps even periodontal therapy are integral during this stage to prevent periodontitis--tissue and bone loss surrounding the teeth. Some women, during puberty or into adulthood, suffer from menstruation gingivitis involving red and swollen gums, bleeding gums and inner cheek sores.

Beginning in the second or third month of pregnancy, women frequently experience gingivitis or pregnancy gingivitis until the eight month. Swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness of gum tissue occurs during pregnancy gingivitis, a mild form of periodontitis. Furthermore, studies have suggested a link between periodontal disease and pre-term, low-birth weight babies. Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may even be seven times more likely to give birth prematurely to an underweight baby.

Women who take oral contraceptives may be prone to similar oral health conditions as pregnant women such as red, bleeding or swollen gums. Drugs that treat periodontal disease, such as an antibiotic for gum disease, may hinder the effectiveness of an oral contraceptive.

Menopausal gingivostomatitis affects a small number of women and involves dry or shiny gums that bleed easily or appear either oddly pale or deeply red. Estrogen supplements are thought to alleviate these gum disease symptoms.