There are already plenty of irritations generated by women's naturally fluctuating hormone levels. Whether it's the irritability that can come with puberty, the cramps linked to premenstrual syndrome or the hot flashes caused by menopause, women have to endure plenty of things that men don't - and now, there's another one. According to a literature review, female hormonal changes can boost the risk of gum disease and bad breath.
The science behind it
Seriously, hormone changes can cause gingivitis? Don't ladies suffer enough?
This revelation has spawned dozens of news headlines, and even though it may sound totally made-up or frivolous, it's based on sound science. Charlene Krejci, a researcher at Case Western Reserve University's School of Dental Medicine, started out by wondering how women's hormone levels affect their overall wellness.
To find out, she conducted a broad literature search. The results, which appeared in the journal Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry, are a real drag.
Essentially, she found that hormone changes of any kind - puberty, PMS, pregnancy or menopause - make gum disease more likely (not to mention periodontitis, pre-term birth and osteoporosis).
Unfortunately, the results prove that, in terms of gender, gum health isn't an even playing field.
Krejci wrote that "although women tend to take better care of their oral health than men, the main message is women need to be even more vigilant about maintaining healthy teeth and gums to prevent or lessen the severity of some of women-specific health issues."
But there's good news. First, women take better care of their mouths. In your face, guys!
And second, Krejci said that a careful dental regimen, including specialty breath fresheners and plenty of floss, can essentially neutralize the risks caused by hormone shifts.