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For Immediate Release

Contact: Richard T. Koenig
Phone: 202-547-7613
Fax: 202-546-1482

Women's Unique Oral Health Conditions Linked to Hormones, Diseases

Washington, DC- Research now indicates that women face unique health conditions in connection with various diseases, changing hormone levels during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause or because of oral contraceptive and hormone replacement therapy use.

The American Dental Association held a women's health and leadership conference as part of its Annual Session in October 2001. A panel of experts and oral health researchers shared information on oral health topics of particular concern to women:
  • Eating disorders, which result in the wearing down of tooth surfaces exposed to stomach acid during vomiting. Dentists normally notice enlarged salivary glands in bulimic patients because saliva is stimulated prior to vomiting

  • Gingivitis, occurring in 50 - 70 percent of pregnant women, a result of varying hormone levels that can inflame gum tissue when irritated.

  • Risk factors for pre-term birth and post menopausal osteoporosis.

  • Chronic gum disease and its independent risk factors for conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

  • Pain syndromes and autoimmune diseases, such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), atypical facial pain, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus and Sjogren's disease - all more prevalent in women.

  • Cancer treatment, with four of 10 chemotherapy patients developing oral stomatitis.

  • Seniors living in nursing homes, which increases the risk of developing oral diseases because staff often overlook oral health and can be uncomfortable cleaning dentures or brushing a patient's teeth.

For more information about oral health issues, visit www.dcdental.org and the American Dental Association Web site at www.ada.org.