Women's Oral Health Care
In May, many holidays celebrate women and mothers and encourage them to make their health a priority, and Delta Dental of Illinois wants to raise awareness about some of the oral health concerns that women may face.
National Women's Health Week, celebrated to help women understand the steps they can take to improve their health, kicks off on Mother's Day. Oral health and overall health are closely related, and many women may be unaware that they are more predisposed to dental problems because of unique hormonal changes.
Hormones change the body’s reaction to plaque buildup and also affect blood supply to the gum tissue. These changes may make women more susceptible to oral health problems, including the development of periodontal disease at certain times of their lives.
Changing hormone levels are most likely to affect women's oral health during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. “Taking care of oral health is always important, but for women, it is particularly important during these times when hormone levels are changing,” said Katina Spadoni, DDS, dental director for Delta Dental of Illinois.
Oral Health and Pregnancy
May is also Pregnancy Awareness Month, and women who are pregnant should pay attention to their oral health. A condition called “pregnancy gingivitis” affects most pregnant women and generally begins to surface as early as the second month of pregnancy. If untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.
Research suggests a possible link between gum disease and preterm, low-birth-weight babies. “Preventive dental care during pregnancy improves oral and overall health and is safe for both mothers and babies,” said Spadoni.
It is recommended that pregnant women schedule a checkup during the first trimester so the dentist can assess their oral health and determine how frequently these women will need to be seen during their pregnancy.
Delta Dental of Illinois offers the following tips for women to help prevent oral health problems, especially during times of changing hormone levels:
- Brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.
- Visit your dentist regularly for an exam and cleaning.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Limit foods containing sugar to mealtime only.
- If you're pregnant, visit your dentist.
This May 11 is National Women's Checkup Day, so when you schedule your next annual wellness visit, schedule a dentist appointment as well.