While hormones are to blame for mood swings and hot flashes, a comprehensive review of women’s health studies have showed a link between hormones and gum disease. The literature review, performed by Charlene Krejci, an associate clinical professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, was reported in the article “Women’s Health: Periodontitis and It’s Relation to Hormonal Changes, Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes and Osteoporosis.”

According to Krejci, women go through a variety of hormonal changes across the ages: puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. These changes in hormone levels can change conditions in the mouth that can allow bacteria to enter the mouth, grow, enter the blood and cause certain health issues, like bone loss, fetal death and even pre-term births.

Sixty-one journal articles and nearly 100 studies were examined to find a link between hormones and health issues affecting women, including, but not limited to, gum disease. Krejci claims that there is a definite link between women’s hormones, gum disease and other diseases specifically impacting women. Although women tend to take better care of their mouths, the main message is that women need to be more vigilant when it comes to their oral care.

In addition to brushing and flossing regularly, it is recommended that women visit the dentist every six months. Women should visit the dentist more often if they are pregnant or suffering from gum disease or bone loss. Although women were discouraged from visiting the dentist while pregnant in the past, scaling and planing of the roots of the teeth can be done to avoid gum disease in pregnant women. More serious dental procedures, like surgery, will be postponed until after the birth of the baby.

According to the World Health Organization, 85 percent of adults in the United States suffer from some type of gum disease. Unfortunately, most are not aware of it and, as a result, aren’t getting treated. The symptoms of gum disease include: swollen, red, tender or receding gums, sensitive teeth, obvious plaque, persistent bad breath, spaces developing between teeth, and loose or mobile teeth. If you have any of these symptoms, you are strongly encouraged to visit a dentist as soon as possible.

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