Wellness Tips | 01 September, 2022

Why Oral Health Is Important For Women

It’s Women’s Health Week (5-11th September) and at Maven Dental we’re reminding all women that it’s ok to put themselves first, especially when it comes to great oral health! Chances are you’ve blamed your hormones for a skin breakout or an emotional outburst however, have you ever considered that your hormones may also be to blame for changes inside your mouth? To celebrate Women’s Health Week, we sat down with Maven Dental’s Clinical Advisor, Alison Coates to discuss women’s dental health further.

“As women, the hormone levels of both our progesterone and estrogen fluctuates at different stages of the month and life in general. That can bring about inflamed gums (gingivitis) and can lead to increased risk of periodontal disease. During stages such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause it’s important that additional care for your oral health is taken as these life events all come with major hormonal surges that can have an impact on your oral health.”


During puberty, your body is going through several physical changes and, there’s just as much going on at a chemical level! With an increased amount of estrogen and progesterone, more blood than usual is sent to your gums causing them to be more sensitive to plaque build-up and susceptible to irritation from food particles. It’s a condition that is sometimes referred to as puberty gingivitis leaving you with red, swollen gums that are prone to bleeding.

Menstrual Cycle and Oral Contraceptive Pills

As you know by now, even a small change in your hormones can lead to major physical changes in your body, this is the same for women going through their monthly cycle and for those who take the oral contraceptive pill.

Although not all women experience menstrual gingivitis, it is a common condition experienced during menstruation causing your gums to swell and bleed. These oral changes are likely to clear up on their own either by the time your cycle starts or by the time it ends. Unless symptoms do not disappear, it is recommended to continue with your at home oral health care routine.  

You may also be aware that women who take the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) could be at risk of dental problems such as gingivitis and poor periodontal health. This is a result of the estrogen and progesterone hormones levels that are in ‘the pill’ which have been linked to an increase in inflammation in the gums.

Pregnancy Epulis: Caused by increased hormone production where the blood flow can cause red, raspberry looking lesions to appear on the gums and in between the teeth. Although they bleed frequently and might make chewing difficult, pregnancy epulis usually disappear on their own. If you’re experiencing lingering symptoms, it is recommended to visit your dentist.

The morning sickness and pregnancy cravings (pica) are additional pregnancy side effects that may affect your oral health.

Gastric reflux and vomiting can coat your teeth in strong stomach acids causing tooth enamel erosion. When morning sickness strikes, you may be tempted to brush your teeth immediately after, however, for the best dental care it is recommended to rinse your mouth out with warm water or a fluoride mouth rinse.

During pregnancy, it's not uncommon to have unusual food cravings that come at a cost for your oral health. Leave the sugary snacks at home and consider choosing healthy snack options such as fresh fruit, vegetables, and Greek yoghurt.

Maven Dental’s clinical advisor, Alison Coates recommends to up the ante when it comes to your dental health routine during this stage of life. “By putting in a little extra effort into your oral health care routine, brushing & flossing regularly and maintaining regular visits to your dentist or dental hygienist, this can minimise the risk of having to manage these implications.”

Eating and drinking can be less appealing during menopause due to the sensations associated with burning tongue syndrome (BMS). Burning tongue syndrome can be characterised by a painful, burning feeling in your mouth, gums, lips, and sides of your mouth. While this condition is also experienced by men, a higher rate of women suffer from the condition.

To maintain optimal oral health during all stages of life, Alison stresses the importance of:

  • Brushing your teeth twice daily,
  • Floss between your teeth once a day,
  • Book in for routine dental appointments every six months.

During this time of life there can also be a decreased level of oestrogen (the hormone that protects your bones). This can put mature aged women at risk of osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones), which can potentially affect the jawbone resulting in tooth loss if it coexists with gum disease. However, if you maintain a strict oral health care routine, this minimises the risk and there’s no reason to worry. To keep your smile intact and maintain healthy bone density, you should:

  • Enjoy balanced diet that includes calcium rich foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eliminate smoking and reduce alcohol consumption
  • If concerned, get tested and treated appropriately
  • Always tell you dentist if you are being treated for osteoporosis

“Visiting your dental hygienist or dentist for regular oral health maintenance is important for the removal of calculus that only adds to the risk of gum disease and tooth loss.” Says Alison Coates.

While women face multiple dental health issues caused by the fluctuation in the balance of hormones throughout life, there is an upside! Ladies tend to be more proactive in seeking treatment and booking in for regular dental appointments and in general, are better than men at taking care of their teeth! Women’s Health Week is the perfect time for our female friends to put themselves first and to make a conscious effort to instil daily habits to care for your dental health.

To ensure your dental health is in check, Book an appointment with your local Maven Dental dentist today!