How Gum Disease Affects Older Women

Did you know that half of American adults suffer from gum disease? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that number increases to 70.1% for adults who are 65 years and older. For those that don’t know, periodontal disease is a chronic gum infection that damages gum tissue and can destroy the jawbone. While gum disease has negative effects on all those who have it, it shows to be particularly harmful for women who are postmenopausal.

An article from the American Heart Association states that older women have a 12% higher risk of premature death if they have had a history of gum disease than women who have had no such history. Female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone causes more blood to flow to your gums which can make them more easily irritated. In addition, when the hormone levels are high women are more sensitive to plaque and bacteria around the gums.

Because of the affects periodontal disease has, it is recommended that women especially should have more intensive and frequent screenings for gum disease. All patients should have an annual periodontal evaluation which will diagnose the disease, check your periodontal health, and determine if there is any treatment needed. There is no such thing as being too cautious when it comes to your dental health!