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A big surprise about women's health? Dental health, particularly in the gums, can be threatened when women's hormones surge1. Here's how to adjust your dental care routine to help ensure oral health for life.
1. Hormones during puberty
With the increase in women's hormones—estrogen and progesterone—at puberty, a girl's gums can become red and swollen. They're also susceptible to canker sores. Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss every day, and get regular cleanings at the dentist.
2. Painful gums during your period
Add swollen, bleeding gums to the list of annoyances that can come with your period. If gum discomfort is a problem during your period, make sure to schedule your dental cleanings for about a week after.
3. Dental work and oral contraceptives
Today's birth control pills don't contain enough women's hormones to affect gums. However, tell your dentist if you're taking The Pill, because certain medications could make it less effective. Also, birth control users who have a tooth pulled are more likely to develop dry socket, a painful infection.
4. Pregnancy and oral health
Women's hormones are at their peak during pregnancy and, as a result, some pregnant women might develop mild gum disease. Keep up with your brushing and flossing and consider extra teeth cleanings as well. Tooth pain in pregnancy is not uncommon; tell your dentist if you're having toothaches or pain in the gums.
5. Menopause and dry mouth
Changing levels of women hormones during menopause can trigger dry mouth. This means less saliva to rinse off bacteria from teeth, leading to a greater risk for cavities. Another factor for women's health during menopause is bone loss, including the bones in your jaw. Work with your dentist to make sure your dental care during menopause protects your oral health.
For more about women's health and dental care, see American Dental Association's Hormones and Dental Health: What Every Woman Needs to Know.
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