October 2017
In This Issue
Oral Health

Institute Happenings

Upcoming Events 
  Recent Blogs 
Dear Friends,

Whether you will be enjoying Halloween candy later in the month, or indulging in some fall-flavored sweet treats, take a quick moment to “brush up” on your oral health habits! 

Did you know that women experience unique oral healthcare needs throughout their lifetime? Join us as we learn how sex and gender can impact oral health and receive expert advice on how to maintain a healthy smile! 

Nicole C. Woitowich, PhD
Director of Science Outreach and Education 
Women's Oral Heath: Ask the Experts
In this issue, we’ve asked Dr. Carol Lee, Attending Staff in General Dentistry at the Northwestern Dental Clinic and Clinical Instructor of Otolaryngology (Dental Surgery) within the Feinberg School of Medicine to share with us some valuable advice about women’s oral health.
We know that sex and gender can influence health in important ways. Does the same hold true for oral health ?
There are many non-gender based variables that could influence oral health in both men and women, such as attitude towards dentistry, access to dental care, socioeconomic and environmental influences, social history, heredity, systemic health and medications. However, women do have specific oral health concerns at different stages of their life. The changes in female hormone levels during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause influence the oral flora, which has a direct effect on oral health.
Are there certain oral health issues which are more common in women compared to men?
Some research has shown that women seek regular dental care more than men and that women practice better home hygiene habits. However, but, the biggest difference between women and men with regards to oral health is the hormonal changes that a woman experiences during different stages of her lifetime.
Are there specific circumstances where women should pay closer attention to their oral health, such as during pregnancy or menopause?
Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause all affect oral health. Hormonal fluctuations have a strong influence on the mouth and therefore women have special needs at different stages of life.

Puberty: During puberty, there is an increase in hormones such as progesterone and estrogen, which can cause increased blood circulation to the gums. This can cause increased gum sensitivity, bleeding and tenderness.

Menstruation: While menstruating, some females experience bleeding gums and mouth sores.

Pregnancy: When hormone levels rise/fall, oral health issues can be at risk. The most common occurrence during pregnancy is something called pregnancy gingivitis, which
is inflammation of the gums.

Menopause/post-menopause: The most common changes in the mouth during this stage of life could include burning gums, altered taste and dry mouth.
What are your recommendations for maintaining healthy teeth and gums?
To maintain oral health it’s important to:
  • Brush twice a day (morning and before bed) with a soft bristled brush or an electric toothbrush
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Use a fluoride based toothpaste
  • Eat a balanced diet, avoiding sticky candy and high sugar foods. If consumed brush/rinse afterwards if possible.
  • If one chews gum, it should be sugar free
  • Have a regular dental recall (exam, x-rays and dental cleaning). The dental team (dentist/hygienist) can detect early gum disease, which left untreated could lead to periodontal disease and potential tooth loss.
Institute Happenings
The Women’s Health Research Institute will host the 2 nd Annual Symposium on Sex Inclusion in Biomedical Research on January 25th, 2018 . The event coincides with the 2 nd  anniversary of the landmark NIH policy which requires investigators to consider sex as a biological variable. The theme of this year’s symposium is “A Spotlight On Autoimmunity,” and will feature exciting lectures from national experts in sex-based immunology. In addition to an outstanding lecture series, the symposium will feature a panel discussion on the state of sex-inclusive science, invited abstract presentations, and a poster session highlighting the work of members of the Northwestern University community. To register for the symposium or to submit an abstract visit: sexinclusion.northwestern.edu .
The WHRI is now accepting applications for the Shaw Family Pioneer Awards.

Two awards of $12,000 in direct costs will be granted to research or tenure-line faculty members. Proposals must be directly relevant to sex-inclusive research, focusing on sex-based determinants of health and disease. For more information and to access the application, please visit our website at click here.  
WHRI Featured in U.S. News and World Report
WHRI Director, Dr. Teresa Woodruff was recently interviewed by U.S. News and World Report for their latest piece highlighting gaps in Women’s Health Research. The piece features insights into sex- and gender-based health issues, including the need for sex-inclusive science.

To read more about Dr. Woodruff’s insights into the next generation of discoveries which consider sex as a biological variable,  click here

Upcoming Events 

Tuesday, October 17th: Monthly Women's Health Research Forum
The NIH "All of Us" Study: Precision Medicine for all 

Philip Greenland, MD
Harry W. Dingman Professor of Cardiology, Professor of Preventative Medicine 
Director, Center for Population Health Sciences - Institute for Public Health and Medicine 
Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University 

 12:00PM to 1:00PM
Prentice Women's Hospital
250 E. Superior Street
3rd Floor Conference Room L South

This continuing nursing education activity has been approved for 1.0 contact hour by the Ohio Nurses Association (OBN-001-91), an accredited approver of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Approval valid through 8/10/2019 - ONA Approval #21026, ONA-CE Assigned Approval Number
Wednesday, October 18th: Coffee and Conversations with Dr. Jindan Yu
Thursday, October 26th: Coffee and Conversations with Dr. Yarrow Axford
Chicago Campus 

3:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Lurie Research Building
Searle Seminar Room

Evanston Campus

3:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Tech, L428
Cohen Commons Dining Room

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