For men and women of all ages, enjoying quality oral health means maintaining a regular schedule of brushing and flossing daily. Practicing proper oral hygiene helps to remove harmful bacteria and lingering food particles from the mouth that contribute to the development of tooth decay and gum disease. In addition to helping keep your teeth healthy and strong, a solid oral hygiene routine will also reduce your risk of developing several chronic illnesses.
In recent years, a number of studies have found links between oral health issues such as gum disease and a host of long-term health problems, including heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Now a new study has also found that poor oral health can also raise a woman’s risk of developing a number of women’s specific health issues.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine have found in a comprehensive study that the female hormone fluctuation that occurs throughout a woman’s life can alter conditions in the mouth that promote the growth of bacteria. This bacteria then finds its way into the blood stream where it begins to move throughout the body and exacerbate a variety of health concerns such as preterm labor, fetal death, and bone loss.
The results of this study were published in the journal Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry.
A Compelling Reason to Brush
While the study found that women in general take better care of their teeth and gums by maintaining a more regular oral hygiene regimen than men, researchers warn that this link means women must become even more diligent when taking care of their oral health. However, the research did show that by keeping their teeth and gums healthy, women ere better able to reduce their risk or lessen the severity of a number of gender-specific health issues.
A More Cautious Approach
Since it’s widely known that women can experience gum problems when pregnant due to hormonal shifts, women need to make sure to take care of any oral health problems prior to trying to get pregnant. While women were formerly discouraged from visiting the dentist while pregnant, routine cleanings and checkups do not present any kind of threat to the baby’s health.
John Nickelbottom is a free lance health and science writer.