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What You Need to Know About Women's Oral Health
Date:8/27/2008

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Believe it or not, women and men have different oral health needs. In fact, women's oral health needs change at different stages throughout their life, including puberty, pregnancy and menopause.

The Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) offers a reminder that understanding these evolving oral health needs will ensure that everyone, regardless of gender or stage of life, is getting the oral health care they need to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Changes in women's oral health care needs are primarily related to changing hormone levels. During puberty, the rise in hormone levels can lead to swollen and sensitive gums, as well as mouth sores. Long-term use of oral contraceptives can lead to gingivitis, as they contain progesterone or estrogen. In addition, women who take oral contraceptives are twice as susceptible to develop dry socket. Regardless of life stage or gender, a person should always keep his/her dentist informed of any medications he/she is taking, including oral contraceptives, especially before any major dental procedure.

It is especially important to maintain good oral health during pregnancy. Due to the increase in hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, pregnant women are more at risk to develop inflamed gums, which if left untreated can lead to gum disease. Pregnant women who are diagnosed with periodontal (gum) disease are more likely to have pre-term, low birth-weight babies. To help prevent periodontal disease, brush thoroughly twice a day and floss daily.

As a baby's teeth typically develop in utero between the third and sixth month of pregnancy, it is essential that pregnant women receive sufficient amounts of key nutrients, such as calcium, protein, phosphorous and vitamins A, C and D. Remember, what a woman eats during pregnancy affects the development of her unborn child. To minimize the risk of tooth decay, choose nutritious well-balance
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Dental Association
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