Women's Oral Health

Men and women have different oral health needs. Women’s oral health needs change at different stages throughout their life, including puberty, pregnancy and menopause, due to the change in hormone levels. PDA encourages the public, regardless of gender or age, to seek regular, preventive dental care.


FAQs

How do changes in hormone levels alter my oral health? 
During puberty, the rise in hormone levels can lead to swollen and sensitive gums and mouth sores. During menopause, women often develop dry mouth and sore and sensitive gums. Ask your dentist for recommendations of products to help soothe your gums and stimulate salivary flow.

Can oral contraceptives affect my oral health?
Yes, long-term use of oral contraceptives can lead to gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal disease, where the bacteria get in between the tooth and gums causing inflammation. Let your dentist know if you are taking oral contraceptives or any other medication.

I’m pregnant. What do I need to know about my oral health during pregnancy?
It is important to let your dentist know that you are pregnant before any dental procedure. It is especially important to maintain optimal oral health care during pregnancy as pregnant women who are diagnosed with periodontal (gum) disease are more likely to have pre-term, low-birth weight babies.

As an unborn baby’s teeth develop in utero between the third and sixth month of pregnancy, it is important that pregnant women receive sufficient amounts of key nutrients, such as calcium, protein, phosphorous and vitamins A, C and D. Choose nutritious meals and snacks.

If you suffer from morning sickness, try rubbing a paste of baking soda and water on the teeth and leaving it there for 30 seconds. This can help neutralize the effects of acids accompanying morning sickness and help prevent tooth erosion. Routine X-rays will likely be postponed during pregnancy; however, emergency X-rays may be performed as untreated dental infections can pose risk to both the mother and unborn child. Radiation from X-rays is very low and precautions are taken to minimize radiation exposure.

How can I prevent periodontal disease?
Brushing twice a day and flossing daily, as well as visiting your dentist for regular checkups and professional cleanings, will help prevent periodontal disease.


Resources

American Dental Association: Women and Oral Health Care
News Release: Periodontal Disease - How to Protect Your Teeth and Gums
News Release: What You Need to Know About Women’s Oral Health