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Does gender matter? Where oral health is concerned, it seems that women win the battle. Women are more educated about oral health and more apt to visit the dentist, get the follow-up treatment and care they need, and have reduced indicators for periodontal disease compared to men, according to a recent study conducted and published by the Journal of Periodontology. Turns out, women also take better care of their teeth and also maintain a more positive attitude about oral health care than men. Women don’t mind spending the time needed to learn more about their oral health and taking the steps to protect it.
Who Was Included in the Study?
The study included a panel of over 800 people aged 18- 19 years old. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire that included writing information concerning their dental knowledge, their lifestyle, oral health behaviors, and their overall dental care attitude. Participants were also given an oral exam by a well-qualified dentist, even when no indicators of periodontal disease were present.
What is Periodontal Disease?
The American Dental Association says that periodontal disease is an infection that occurs in the tissues supporting the teeth. The V-shaped crevice between the tooth and gums, known as the sulcus, is where the disease attacks. This enables attachment to the tooth and the supporting tissues, all of which led to tooth breakdown. The sulcus then develops into a pocket.
Many people with periodontal disease don’t realize they are affected. There are no warning signs of the disease in many cases. This is why it’s so important to visit the dentist on a regular basis. Regular checkups and exams help prevent many of the problems that you may experience unknowingly.
Periodontal Disease Risk Factors
Women who smoke are at a greater risk for developing periodontal disease. In fact, anyone who uses tobacco is at an increased risk of periodontal disease. Medications can also cause periodontal disease. Steroids and cancer therapy drugs are two of the most common medications known to cause periodontal disease. Pregnancy increases the risk, and people with crooked teeth face the same risks.
Peep the Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease
Though most people won’t experience warning signs of periodontal disease, many will. The ADA reports the following as warning signs that periodontal disease may be a part of your future without proper dental care bestowed immediately:
– Bleeding gums
– Swollen gums
– Red, tender gums
– Loose or separating permanent teeth
– Changes in your bite
– Changes in the fit of a partial denture
The Bottom Line
Although this study indicates women are at a reduced risk for periodontal disease when compared to men, the risks are still there. It’s imperative to take all the necessary steps to protect your oral health against periodontal disease and the negative effects that it causes to your overall health.