By: Diana Barnes-Brown for Dental1
While it is important for everyone to take good care of their dental and oral health, women face special risks as a result of hormonal and chemical changes in their bodies, as well as the strain of pregnancy on nutritional and hormonal balances within the body.
|Keep your smile healthy and beautiful:|
1. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day.
2. Eat a balanced diet and limit in between meal snacks.
3. Schedule regular dental check ups and consider life changes such as pregnancy when planning.
4. Take care of tooth pain and oral health concerns early before they lead to larger problems.
For more information on dental care during pregnancy, visit
the American Dental Association FAQ page.
Also, these risks change at different stages of life, and in concert with changes elsewhere in the body. Changing hormone levels at puberty, during menstruation, and during or after menopause can lead to cold sores and canker sores, changes in taste and increased risk of gum disease. Gingivitis is a special risk during the teen years, and bone weakness and dry mouth, both of which can lead to tooth loss, are common during menopause.
Frequently, women can have a say in their oral and dental health, even if they fall victim to one of the above disorders as a result of puberty, menopause, or other hormonal changes. Practice of good oral hygiene, use of special rinses or cleansing techniques, avoidance of certain irritating foods such as those that contain lots of sugar or acids, and use of dietary supplements such as calcium to prevent bone loss can usually combat all but the most severe oral or dental health problems.
Baby on board can increase risk of gingivitis leading to complications
Pregnant women must take special care of their mouths and teeth as well. Dental work and oral surgery can be dangerous if conducted during pregnancy, and x-ray radiation is dangerous for the developing fetus. Because of these risks, women who plan to get pregnant should have a complete oral exam and cleaning prior to pregnancy, and plan to have any procedures or treatments completed then.
If a problem arises during pregnancy, women should wait until the fourth month if at all possible, as risk to the developing fetus is greatest during the first three months of pregnancy.
Some pregnant women are at increased risk of gingivitis due to changing hormone levels. This is not necessarily a serious condition, but without treatment may result in more serious gum disease or infection, which may in turn be harmful to the pregnancy. Also, data shows that pregnant women with gum disease are at increased risk of premature delivery and low birth weight. Brushing and flossing regularly, though it may be uncomfortable, is the best way to be sure that gingivitis will not progress to a more serious condition.
While some women may bemoan the additional risk factors they face, the best way to beat them is to face them by practicing good nutrition, dental and oral hygiene habits, scheduling regular checkups, and seeking professional treatment if a more serious problem does arise. If women follow these steps, their teeth and mouths will remain healthy and strong for years, and the likelihood of unnecessary pain, damage, or infection will be kept to a minimum.