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Women's hormonal changes affect oral health

August 7, 2012

Did you know women can have more oral health problems than men? Women's hormones — chemicals in the body — are mixed differently than in men. And some hormonal changes in women can cause gum disease.

There are five times during a woman's life when hormone changes can cause oral health problems. Here is a short description of each:

Puberty — Women's bodies begin making more female hormones. As a result, women's gums are more likely to bleed during brushing and flossing.

The monthly menstruation cycle — Hormonal changes occur during the menstrual cycle. These changes can include bright red swollen gums, canker sores, or bleeding gums.

Use of birth control pills — Some birth control pills contain a chemical called progesterone. Women who take these pills might get inflamed gum tissues.

Pregnancy — Hormone levels change a lot during pregnancy. As a result, you may be more likely to get gingivitis. Gingivitis is a type of gum disease.

Menopause — Numerous oral changes can happen as you get older. These oral changes can include a burning sensation in the mouth. You may have greater sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages. Others may get dry mouth.

Preventing gum disease in women
Hormones can cause gum disease in women. But following these tips will help:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for a checkup and cleaning.
  • Eat a well balanced diet.
  • Avoid sugary or starchy snacks.