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                                                        DR. DAN PETERSON

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      Call: 308-436-3491           

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Woman's dental health needs Other conditions
Puberty What you can do
Birth Control Women and Pain
Pregnancy Update on Women's Dental Needs 
Age Fibromyalgia
Menopause Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Cancer

As a woman it is essential you adhere to good daily oral hygiene habits especially during some very stressful periods of life.

     A woman's dental health needs are affected by her different stages in life.  Often these changes are directly linked to changes in sex hormone levels.  There are some dental conditions that the incidence of diagnosis is higher in women than men.

         As a woman it is essential you adhere to good daily oral hygiene habits especially during some very stressful periods of life such as pregnancy, child rearing and/or trying to deal with management of a home and career.  Be sure to brush at least twice a day and floss at once a day.  Some stages of life you are encouraged to see us more frequently, especially through your hormonal surges.

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Teen years can effect your oral health!


Puberty during this stage hormones may cause you to have swollen gums, especially during your periods because estrogen causes increased blood circulation to the gums.  Herpes-type lesions and ulcers can occur and gums sensitivity may be more present and is know as Menstruation Gingivitis.  This condition typically occurs right before a period and clears up once the period has started. Dentists may suggest scaling, root planing, antimicrobial mouth rinses and oral hygiene instructions to treat gum disease that occurs during menstruation These changes can especially effect you if you are wearing braces or your wisdom teeth are "coming in".  This is a time to see your dentist at least every 6 months to help you adjust and remain comfortable during these changes and develop and maintain good oral health habits. 

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Birth Control simulate pregnancy because they contain progesterone or estrogen which can lead to gingivitis with long term use.  Use of certain antibiotics that are used to help control periodontal disease, while taking birth control, can decrease birth control effectiveness.  Be aware that if you are taking birth control your chances of developing a dry socket after an extraction is twice as high than if you were not taking them. Women who are taking oral contraceptives should advise their dentists where they are in the pill cycle so that it can be determined if needed extractions can be performed between the 23rd and 28th day of that cycle. Oral contraceptives taken during the last week do not contain estrogen, which may create painful dry sockets after extraction ***MORE>>>>>Birth Control and Oral Health

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Pregnant women have a risk for increased swelling of their gums and if plaque is not removed on a daily basis gingivitis will develop.  In this condition your gums will be red, swollen, tender and likely to bleed when you brush them. This is known as Pregnancy Gingivitis and begins in the second or third month of pregnancy and increases in severity throughout the eighth month.  If you let your dental health deteriorate to the level of periodontal disease you will increase your risk by seven times of having a baby that is born to early and is too small!  If you are planning to become pregnant be sure to have a comprehensive exam as part of your prenatal care. There is also the risk of developing pregnancy tumors.  These are non-cancerous growths that develop when swollen gums become irritated and inflamed.  Usually these tumors shrink after the pregnancy is over.  If they remain after pregnancy they may have to be removed by a periodontist.   If you experience morning sickness, it is important to neutralize the acid caused by vomiting because this acid can erode your teeth and make them more vulnerable to tooth decay.  Make a paste of baking soda and water and rub it on your teeth.  After 30 seconds, rinse off the paste, then brush and floss.  If you can not tolerate this procedure at least rinse your mouth with water.

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Age, a study done in January 1999 in the Journal of Periodontology reported that at least 23 percent of women ages 30-54 have periodontitis and 44 percent of women ages 55-90 who still have their teeth have periodontitis.  Periodontal disease is know as a "silent" disease because you often do not even know you have until it is in its advance stages.

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Menopause is a time where you can experience dry mouth, burning sensation and changes in taste perception (salty, peppery or sour).  Your gums can even become sore and sensitive. You may even experience Menopausal Gingivostomatitis.  Here gums look dry or shiny, bleed easily and can be abnormally pate to deep red.  Estrogen therapy helps relieve these symptoms.   However, some women taking hormone replacement therapy experience bleeding, swollen and red gums. Bone loss is associated with both periodontal disease and osteoporosis.  Hormone Replacement Therapy help prevent osteoporosis and may possibly help women to protect their from losing their teeth.  Journal of Periodontology Jan/Feb 00 stated estrogen supplements may offer periodontal benefits.  Nonsmoking women who were estrogen-deficient bleed more and had a loss of clinical attachment level of 2 mm 

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Other conditions such as use of diet pills and some over the counter medications and prescriptions can decrease salivary flow which puts you  at risk for cavities, gum disease and discomfort.  If you have an eating disorder such as bulimia, self-induced vomiting you will have erosion of the tooth enamel on the upper front teeth and possible sores at the corners of your mouth.  Smoking greatly increases your risk towards periodontal disease and oral cancer.


Women and Pain Women suffer significantly more from migraines, tension type headaches, facial pains, fibromayalgia and TMD.  Women consistently demonstrate a lowered pain threshold often affected by the stage of the menstrual cycle and by exogenous hormones such as oral contraceptive.  Hormone replacement therapy and use of oral contraceptives have been associated with increased risk of TMD.


Fibromyalgia- 25% of fibromyalgia sufferers have problems with atypical facial and TMJ pain.  Chronic fatigue, sleep disorder, IBS, pain, anxiety, TMD are all part of the Fibromyalgia Syndrome.  Fibromyalgia is a syndrome...not a single entity .It should be diagnosed by the presence of certain painful pressure points.  IDF 10.04

Management of Chronic Pain; Compendium Vol 24, No 12  Dec 2003 pg 909-928

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     What can you do about your dental health during these stages?


See a dentist every six months and check your gum tissue status


Keep your dental professionals informed about ANY medications you are taking whether over the counter or prescriptions and any changes in your health history


Brush twice a day for at least two minutes and floss every day. If flossing is painful try using a Waterpik.  It uses a jet stream of water to clean between the teeth.   We recommend using an electric toothbrush because they may reach plaque and debris below the gum line where ordinary toothbrushes can not reach.

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Up Date one Women's Dental Needs 


Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccines May Decrease Chances of Oral Cancer



The Centers for Disease Control report that nearly 25 million women are infected with some form of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).  Of those, more than three million are thought to have one of the four strains known to cause cases of cervical cancer and genital warts.


HPV is linked to oropharyngeal cancer and may be linked to oral cancers as well, and vaccines that have been developed to treat HPV might decrease the risk of these cancers. It has been found that oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OOSCC) have been linked to high-risk HPV strains, the same strains that cause cervical cancer.Recently, a vaccine was developed to treat patients with HPV against cervical cancer, and this could have an effect on women’s oral health.


More than 100 strains of HPV have been identified, they have been shown to cause other benign and malignant disorders, which now include those in the mouth.  Nearly 30,000 new cases of oral and oropharyngeal cancer are reported each year.  It’s possible that oral and oropharyngeal cancers could be reduced if vaccination were more widespread; however, additional research is needed.


Additional research could result in a comprehensive test for dentists at patients’ semiannual visits.  However, a dentist can perform a head and neck exam to detect early signs, despite the lack of a specific test. A possible connection between HPV and oral cancers, and the stronger link to oropharyngeal cancers, is even more of an indicator that patients should visit the dentist twice a year to identify irregularities early.


Visiting the dentist on a regular basis is an important factor in the detection of any oral health complication. Taking preventive measures is especially important, and your dentist can check for early signs of oral cancer.

Oral Health Tips for Women:


bullet Keep your dentist informed about changes in oral health.
bullet Visit the dentist regularly, which will help them to detect changes in the mouth.
bullet Ask your dentist to take a full medical history to determine if you are at risk for certain problems.
bullet Ask your dentist to perform a complete a head and neck exam to detect early signs of certain conditions

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Frequently Asked Questions about Oral Health

New Women's Oral Health Issues by American Dental Association: Women's Dental Health Issues 2007

Read only PDF file on Women's Oral Health Issues:


You can have a beautiful smile through Invisalign
You can now have a beautiful smile through Invisible braces....Invisalign

Women taking daily amounts of non-aspirin painkillers — such as an extra-strength Tylenol — are more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who don’t, a new study suggests.

While many popular over-the-counter painkillers have been linked before to high blood pressure, acetaminophen, sold as Tylenol, has generally been considered relatively free of such risk.
Use doubles risk of hypertension
The study found that women ages 51-77 who took an average daily dose of more than 500 milligrams of acetaminophen — one extra-strength Tylenol — had about double the risk of developing high blood pressure within about three years. Women in that age range who take more than 400 mg a day of NSAIDS — equal to say two ibuprofen — had a 78percent increased risk of developing high blood pressure over those
who didn’t take the drug.

Among women 34-53 who take an average of more than 500 mg of acetaminophen a day had a two-fold higher risk of developing high blood pressure. And those who took more than 400 mg of NSAIDS a day
had a 60 percent risk increase over those who didn’t take the pills.

“We are by no means suggesting that women with chronic pain conditions not receive treatment for their pain,” lead author Dr. John Phillip Forman, of Harvard Medical School and associate physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, “By pointing out risks associated with these drugs, more informed choices can be made by women and their clinicians.”

As for why aspirin didn’t raise risk, it might be because “aspirinhas a different effect on blood vessels than NSAIDS and acetaminophenhave,” said Dr. Daniel Jones, dean of the school of medicine atUniversity of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.


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Oral Contraceptives and Periodontal Disease: Rethinking the Association Based Upon Analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Data
Background: Historic evidence suggests that use of high-dose combined oral contraceptives (OCs) (containing >50 µg of estrogen and 1 mg progestin) places women at increased risk for periodontal diseases. Since the mid-1970s, OC formulations have dramatically changed. This study investigated the association between OC use and periodontal diseases among 4,930 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) I and 5,001 NHANES III premenopausal U.S. women, aged 17 to
50 years, before and after the reduction of hormone levels in OCs.
The prevalence of OC use in the U.S. premenopausal female population in NHANES I was 22% and in NHANES III, 20%. Using multivariable logistic regression, a protective association between
current OC use and gingivitis was suggestive

This analysis failed to validate the theory that earlier high- or current low-dose OC use is associated with increased levels of gingivitis or periodontitis and suggests an important reexamination of the perceived association between OC use and periodontal diseases.
J Periodontol 2005;76:1374-1385.- Journal of Periodontology 2005, Vol. 76,
No. 8, Pages 1374-1385 Dr. L. Susan Taichman Stephen A. Eklund

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Study finds some women lose sensitivity to sweet tastes after menopause.

After menopause, some women may increase their use of sweeteners due to a decreased sensitivity to sweet tastes, with potentially serious complications for obesity and diabetes. Researchers found that the hormonal changes women experience during menopause seem to reduce the ability to taste sucrose for some. Comparing 20 postmenopausal women with 20 men of similar age, noted a significantly lower sensitivity to sucrose on the palates of the women. However, sensitivity to salt, sourness and bitterness was virtually the same for both groups and there were no changes in taste sensations on the tongue. The researchers said this decline in sensitivity to sweetness was often accompanied by dietary choices skewed toward sweeter foods reported by the women subjects. While only 35 percent of the women said they had noticed a change in taste perception, 45 percent reported an increased preference for sweeter fare. The researchers noted that a preference for sweeter foods could have potentially serious consequences for diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
British Dental Journal

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Oral contraceptive may increase pain after wisdom tooth extractio

That tests on 267 women showed that those on the birth control pill were more susceptible than non-users to both postoperative pain and a condition known as 'dry socket.' In this condition, normal healing of the vacant tooth socket is delayed by the failure of a blood clot to form. Infection instead causes the socket to remain empty. In the study, pain on the day after the operation was experienced by 30 percent of pill takers compared to just 11 percent of non-users. Five days after the operation the difference was 14 percent compared to 5 percent. The researchers said these results suggest that the pill may reduce the pain threshold. The differential was similar when the development of dry socket was compared. Here, 11 percent of pill users were affected compared to 4 percent of non-pill users. 
SOURCE: British Dental Journal 2003;194:453-455

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Government's first annual report on Women's Health USA 2002

Women Health USA 2002 reports trends that show a disproportionate impact on women of certain health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, lupus and osteoporosis. Women are living longer than men and are more likely to have health insurance. Information on dental care in this report indicates that 62.7 percent of women visited a dentist in the last year but that approximately one-third of American women had not visited a dentist for a year or more. Hispanic and black women were more likely than white women to have gone without dental care for a year or more. Less than 1 percent of women had never seen or talked to a dentist. To view the site:

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Some researchers have found that:

pregnant women with periodontitis were 7.5 times more likely to have a preterm low-birth-weight infant. 


risk of preterm birth was directly related to the severity of periodontitis


periodontitis is linked to CVD and estrogen exerts a protective effect against CVD development

JADA The Journal of the American Dental Association -March 2002

Courtesy of American Academy of Periodontology and Academy of General Dentistry

Visit A.G.D.

Ever had a morning like this?

Running out of toothpaste!

February 06, 2008

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Pregnancy    Eating Disorders   Gum Disease   Older Women   Smoking

Women's Health Index


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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and is not a substitute for personal hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.  Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care.
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