Gum Disease (Part 1): The Link Between Gum Disease and Other Health Problems in Men and Women

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Gum Disease (Part 1): The Link Between Gum Disease and Other Health Problems in Men and Women

Periodontal disease, better known as gum disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss among American adults. Fortunately, prevention is possible. The first step to avoiding gum disease and subsequent tooth loss is to get educated! Without this first step, it’s difficult to understand why a dentist may ask you to visit more frequently or why you really should floss every day.

In this blog, we’ll discuss how gum disease affects men and women differently but just as seriously. Come back next week to learn how to significantly decrease your risk of gum disease!

How Gum Disease Affects Men

Research shows that more men are affected by periodontal disease than women. Pure speculation leads people to believe that men are more likely to have poor oral hygiene, eat unhealthy diets, and avoid visiting the dentist. However, genetics and certain medications can also contribute to gum disease.

For men, having gum disease poses a serious threat to their overall health and may contribute to the development of the following problems:

Poor Prostate Health

According to the Journal of Sexual Medicine, men with advanced gum disease are nearly three times more likely to experience erectile dysfunction.

Reports also show that men with gum disease have an increase in prostate-specific antigen levels that could lead to several prostate problems, such as frequent urination, blood in urine, and pain while urinating.

Heart Disease

Although men and women are susceptible to heart disease, men are especially vulnerable. Periodontal disease is just one more health problem that contributes to the development of heart disease (both of which are chronic inflammatory conditions). So, in preventing gum disease, men could also avoid heart disease. 

Cancer

According to a study published by the Annals of Oncology, men with advanced periodontal disease are nearly three times more likely to develop cancer than those without gum disease.

Gum Disease and Women

Certain health and hormonal factors can make women more susceptible to developing gum disease, such as puberty, menstruation, and menopause. Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels during these times can lead to red, swollen, and irritated gums. Fortunately, the gum disease usually subsides along with the hormonal changes.

Pregnant women who develop gum disease experience some of the greatest risks. These women are more likely to have an early birth. Pregnant women should always disclose symptoms of periodontal disease to their doctors.

In addition, women with gum disease are also susceptible to developing heart disease.

Other Health Issues Related to Gum Disease

Men and women with untreated gum disease may also put themselves at risk of the following health issues:

  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Many experts believe these connections are due to oral bacteria escaping into the bloodstream and affecting other organs throughout the body.

Seek Treatment Immediately

If you or someone you love has symptoms of periodontal disease, seek professional dental treatment as soon as possible. Gum disease is reversible in its earliest stage (gingivitis). Once it processes to moderate or severe periodontal disease, dentists can only stop it from progressing and treat the damage through restorative dental methods.  To receive care from our Grant Park dentist, Dr. Abbey J. Lee, call (404) 328-7177. Don’t forget to check back next week for ways to reduce your risk of developing gum disease!

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