Women’s Oral Health – Issues And Tips
Women have different dental needs than men. In fact, women have differing needs as they grow and age and they are most noticeable at different stages in their lives. Periodontal disease is the condition women are at most risk of contracting. This is directly related to sensitivities that occur during hormonal changes in a woman’s life.
When a woman goes through a stage in her life where hormones are active such as during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, she is at higher risk of dental issues. The hormonal changes at these stages can trigger gum sensitivities resulting from how their body reacts to the bacteria contained in plaque. If left unchecked it may become gum disease.
The fluctuations in hormone levels women experience as they age has a tremendous impact on their oral health. Not only are your at greater risk of contracting gingivitis, gum inflammation, canker sores, dry mouth and gum disease, if you are prone to periodontal disease, your odds are even greater of a reoccurrence.
Let’s take a closer look at what can be done to protect your teeth and gums during the different stages:
The female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone increase productivity as you enter your teen years. What this does is increase blood flow in your gums which can leave them feeling a little more sensitive than normal. They will react by becoming irritated more easily by plaque and will show signs of this by turning red, swelling slightly and bleeding easily.
Visiting your dentist regularly during puberty will reduce the irritation. Plaque removal combined with a concentrated effort of home oral care is most important at this stage in your life. Brushing and flossing should reduce plaque buildup and as puberty progresses, swelling will eventually end along with the other signs.
Because the female body gets flooded with a surge of the hormone progesterone just prior to the start of menses each month, it causes several changes in a woman’s mouth. They include canker sores, lesions, bleeding gums, gum swelling and swelling of the salivary glands. Although not all women have this reaction, it does increase the risk of gum disease.
It is at this time in the monthly cycle that women should be particularly focused on oral hygiene. If plaque buildup is common, your risk will increase but you can still combat it with proper oral care. This is when brushing, flossing and diet will play a larger role in keeping your mouth, teeth and gums healthy and strong during your period.
The connection between periodontal disease and pregnant women is well documented. In fact, if you contract it during pregnancy it can have a huge impact on your child. For example, your risk of delivering pre-term increases as does having an infant with a low birth weight. Research shows that being pregnant with periodontal disease multiplies these risks by up to a factor of seven.
Symptoms to watch out for include bleeding gums during brushing or flossing, and tender, swollen or irritated gums. Treating these will require immediate attention by making an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. A professional cleaning should remove any plaque buildup which will reduce the symptoms right away.
As this is the time of a woman’s life where there are still more hormonal changes, it is interesting to note that oral health is not normally affected by menopause. The only exception is if you happen to have menopausal gingivostomatitis. This rare disease will make your gums deep red in colour and they will be shiny, dry and will bleed easily.
Changes in your mouth during menopause may include changing taste sensations, a burning in the mouth, reduced saliva production and increased sensitivities to hot or cold food items. Partial bridge and dentures may become difficult to wear, insert or remove. When this happens, see your dental professional for assistance in dealing with this issue.
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Women using a birth control pill can experience inflammation of the gums. This is because the hormone contained in the contraceptive increases the production of progesterone. This hormone is used as a growth stimulant by the bacteria that causes periodontal disease. Strong oral hygiene habits are the key when using contraceptives.
Keep A Consistent Oral Care Regimen
By always taking proper care of your teeth you can reduce the risk of developing any kind of gum disease. Women, in particular, must be diligent in watching for the signs of potential issues resulting from hormonal changes.
Staying on top of your dental hygiene and regularly seeking professional cleanings by a dentist will greatly reduce the chance of contracting gum disease.
About the Author:
Jade Roberts owns and operates False Teeth Options which provides valuable information and resources regarding false teeth, dental implants, and cosmetic dentistry to people of all ages.