women's health

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Did you know? Women have increased sensitivity to oral health and gum disease because of the hormonal changes they experience, and it can have an impact on overall health.


The Puzzling Ways Oral Health Impacts Women's Health

There’s no one-guide-fits-all for the various stages of life, and there are no clear-cut instructions on navigating women’s health through those different stages – that’s for sure. There are, however, a few things that Smile Generation-trusted dentists recommend to treat and prevent periodontal disease. Studies have found that changes in hormone levels leave women susceptible to gingivitis and gum disease. These oral conditions, in turn, increase the risk for preterm labor, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis – depending on life stage.

Simply put, oral health affects women’s health at every age and every stage which makes good oral hygiene important for women of all ages.


1 in 10

Gum disease is linked to preterm birth, which affects 1 in 10 babies.

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40% of pregnant women have some form of gum disease, which can contribute to preeclampsia and miscarriage.

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Nearly 75%

Nearly 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis, a condition that leads to periodontal disease, gum infection, and tooth loss.

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Treating gum disease prior to the second trimester has been shown to reduce the number of preterm, underweight babies by 80%.

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How Does Gender Affect Oral Health?

What’s the connection between women’s health and oral health? The H word. Hormones. Changes in hormone levels during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause can raise the risk of problems in the mouth, teeth, or gums.


Pregnancy. Remember, you’re flossing for two now. 

Not many people know that taking care of your oral health during pregnancy can significantly impact your health and the well-being of your developing baby. Here’s what you need to know: the surges in estrogen and progesterone can expand the blood vessels in your gums, increasing blood flow. This makes gums more sensitive to bacteria. Researchers found that women who entered labor early were 45% more likely to have gum disease than women who carried their babies to full term.


Puberty. Listen up, sis. 

During puberty, hormonal changes can increase blood flow to the gums and change the way the mouth reacts to bacterial plaque. This may leave gums tender and prone to bleeding, especially during brushing and flossing. These changes, along with poor oral hygiene and an affinity for sugar, can lead to puberty-associated gingivitis. Welcome to teen angst in the 2020s.


Menopause. Now hold it just one second. 

During menopause, some women may experience burning mouth syndrome, dry mouth or a loss or change in taste. That’s because the hormonal changes women experience during this period lead to a decline in estrogen being produced in the body. Once there’s a build up of gingivitis or gum disease, it’s not just menopause you have to worry about, but rather higher risks of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke and other fatal illnesses. One thing is a sure bet:  the best way to protect your mouth during menopause is to keep your teeth healthy before you hit it.


Birth Control. Why talk to your dentist about it? 

One overlooked aspect of hormone imbalances is birth control. Several studies have shown that when a woman is taking some form of oral contraception, it often leads to poor gum health or increased inflammation. Decreased levels of natural estrogen caused by birth control pills have also been shown to cause TMJ (temporomandibular) disorders. And that’s why it’s important to talk to your dentist about it.

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Healthcare That's Here For You

Read more about your heart and the Mouth-Body Connection with this special issue of the Generations of Smiles magazine. 

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Here's What You Can Do

To get to the bottom of how to put your best smile forward, it starts with connecting the dots between oral health and women’s health. Given the link between the two, why don’t more women know about the importance of keeping their teeth healthy? Seeing a dentist during pregnancy or puberty isn’t always at the top of the list, but more dentists and obstetricians are working to change that. Seeing a dentist during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause is important because hormonal changes during these stages can leave gums more vulnerable to plaque. The best defense is to brush and floss regularly, maintain your physical health, and to see your Smile Generation-trusted dentist every six months.

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Women's Health FAQ


Got questions?


Smile Generation-trusted dentists make understanding the Mouth-Body Connection simple. Call us at 1-800-SMILEGEN to get started.

Gum disease is associated with problems throughout your body, including your:

  • Mouth and teeth
  • Heart
  • Brain
  • Joints

Gum disease is also linked to an increased risk of complications during pregnancy, such as low birth weight and preterm birth.

Changes in hormone levels during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause can increase the risk of oral problems, such as gingivitis and gum disease, which, in turn, elevate the risk for preterm labor, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis depending on the life stage.

During pregnancy, surges in estrogen and progesterone can increase blood flow to the gums, making them more sensitive to bacteria. Maintaining good oral health during pregnancy is essential, as researchers found that women with gum disease were 45% more likely to experience early labor.

Hormonal changes during puberty increase blood flow to the gums and alter the way the mouth reacts to bacterial plaque. This may lead to puberty-associated gingivitis, characterized by tender and bleeding gums, especially during brushing and flossing.