Gum Disease in Women

female hormones and gum disease

Women tend to be caretakers. They take care of their children, their husbands, their parents, stray animals, even their children’s friends. If there is someone to take care of, they often do it. Research shows that women also take better care of their teeth than men. Women have less gum disease than men. This can be an important factor regarding men’s health.

The links between dental health and overall health indicate that people who take better care of their teeth may end up healthier in general. The fact that men are not as diligent in their oral health care puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to their overall health. If you would like to know more about the oral systemic connection, contact your Dr. Fondriest. Dr. Fondriest specializes in cosmetic dentistry and can suggest several options to keep your smile healthy.

Research about gum disease in women

A recent research study evaluated over 800 people 18 and 19 years of age. The study consisted of two steps: a dental questionnaire and a thorough dental exam. Participants answered questions regarding lifestyle; oral health habits and behaviors; attitudes toward dental visits, exams, and treatments; and level of dental knowledge of the participant. The physical exam was geared especially toward evaluating the existence of symptoms of periodontal disease.

Gum disease in women

A woman’s periodontal health may be impacted by a variety of factors. Hormonal changes dramatically affect gum health. Variations in progesterone and possibly estrogen, cause increased blood circulation to the gums. This may cause an increase in the gum’s sensitivity and lead to a greater reaction to any irritation, including food particles and plaque.


It is estimated that nearly 65 million Americans over the age of 30 have periodontal disease, an inflammatory disease that affects the gingival tissues and bone structures that support your teeth. Periodontal disease begins with gingivitis. When harmful oral bacteria chemically react with sugars and starches remaining on your teeth, a sticky biofilm called plaque is produced. This bacterial biofilm irritates the gums, causing soreness, inflammation, and bleeding. If plaque is left untreated it hardens into tartar and progresses into periodontitis. Periodontist causes the gingival tissue to pull away from the teeth forming pockets which continue to collect bacteria. The bacteria infested plaque and tartar eat away at the supporting bone structure resulting in tooth loss.

Periodontitis takes time to develop and often strikes in adulthood. Oral-systemic research has determined a link between periodontal disease and other health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors.

Symptoms of periodontal disease include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Bright red or purplish-colored gums
  • Sensitive, tender, or achy gums
  • Receding gums
  • Spaces between your teeth
  • Pus filled gingival pockets
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth

Risk factors include:

  • Smoking and other use of tobacco products
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Age
  • Diet
  • Defective fillings
  • Improperly fitting bridges
  • Crooked teeth
  • Medications including chemotherapy drugs, steroids, and oral contraceptives
  • Diabetes and other diseases
  • Periods of hormonal imbalance including pregnancy and menopause

Why Is Dental Care So Important for Expectant Moms?

Drastic changes in hormones during pregnancy increases gum disease in women. Expectant moms are actually at a higher risk of developing gingivitis or gum disease. This is actually true of anytime in life when the hormones are fluctuating. That said, gingivitis and other gum-related problems can also be caused by side effects of medical conditions, or even medications.

Regular dental hygiene is one important way to help keep the gums in good health, but routine dental checkups and cleanings are also important. These help to remove tartar buildup, often before it can create a problem like gingivitis.

Research shows that women take better dental care than men

Results of the study determined that woman are more positive about dental care and dental visits, are more knowledgeable about proper oral health care, and attend to their oral care more responsibly than men. Women attend dental checkups nearly twice as often as men, and present with fewer symptoms of periodontal disease. They also attend recommended follow up treatments more often than men.

Women have less gum disease than men

It has already been determined that more men (nearly 60%) develop periodontal disease than women (nearly 40%), and that men have a higher risk for developing heart disease. The connection between periodontal disease and heart disease and the fact that men do not attend to their dental care as diligently as they should, does not bode well for their health. More than half the deaths of men in 2009 were due to heart disease.

Men should take their female counterparts examples and brush at least twice a day. They should lessen their risk for heart disease and diabetes by flossing daily, rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash, and attending their routine dental cleanings twice yearly.

Learn more about gum disease in women

Aside from providing expert general and cosmetic dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds highly-respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable staff. To schedule your consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.

Dr Fondriest is a Nationally recognized and highly sought after cosmetic dentist serving clients from throughout the United States