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Everyone should practice good oral hygiene but sometimes women have special oral health needs and considerations which can make them more at risk for tooth decay. Hormonal fluctuations have a surprisingly strong influence on the mouth and many women have special needs at different stages of life. Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause can all influence oral health. During these times, your body experiences hormonal changes. By understanding these changes, you can practice good oral health habits that can keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Practice good oral hygiene by always brushing your teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between your teeth once a day with floss or another interdental cleaner, replacing your toothbrush every three or four months, and by eating a balanced diet and limiting between-meal snacks.
The most important oral health problem in women is gum disease, putting them at risk of a host of other related systemic health problems, in addition to teeth loss often after child bearing. Old wives tales believed that the "baby robs the mother's calcium" leading to tooth loss and osteoporosis, and "a mother loses a tooth for each baby she has," have, instead, been proven to be more a function of periodontal (gum) health, as well as hormone and mineral balances. Pregnancy gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums during pregnancy, can lead to gum disease damage causing loss of bone support to the teeth if left untreated. Hormonal changes during menopause can also do the same.
Aside from cavities, the most common oral health problems in women include periodontitis, which is a chronic and advanced disease of the periodontal supporting tissues in the mouth, gum sensitivity and swelling, gingivitis which is an inflammation of the gums, dry mouth, and canker sores. If you are a woman, you experience times in your life when your hormones fluctuate. This puts you more at risk for these oral health issues than men. These times in your life include puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. And during each of these separate times when hormonal levels rise and fall, oral health issues can begin or worsen.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.