Women's oral health depends on their different stages of life. For many women, these changes are directly related to surges in sex hormone levels, such as in puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, lactation and menopause.
Women are also more likely to be diagnosed with TMJ, Myofascial pain, eating disorders, and Sjogren's Syndrome (dry mouth).
As a woman, you need to adhere to good oral hygiene. Make sure to brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and after each meal when possible, and floss thoroughly each day. To help avoid problems, your dentist may request to see you more frequently during hormonal surges.
Puberty -The surge in hormones that occurs during puberty may cause swollen gums, especially during menstruation. Girls may experience sensitive gums that react more to irritants.
Oral Contraceptives- Oral contraceptives mimic pregnancy because they contain progesterone or estrogen. Therefore, gingivitis may occur with long-term use. Use of certain antibiotics while taking oral contraceptives can decrease the contraceptive's effectiveness.
Pregnancy- Pregnant women have a risk for increased inflammation of the gums because of the surge in estrogen and progesterone. If the plaque isn't removed, it can cause gingivitis-red, swollen, tender gums that are more likely to bleed. Women with periodontal disease may be at risk for pre-term, low birth weight babies.
If a woman experiences morning sickness, it is important to neutralize the acid caused by vomiting, which causes tooth erosion. Patients can use a paste made of baking soda and water, rubbing it on the teeth. After 30 seconds, rinse off the paste, then brush and floss. If this is not possible, rinse with water.
Menopause- During menopause, some women can experience dry mouth, burning sensation, and changes in taste. Gums can even become sore and sensitive.
Other factors- Diet pills and certain medications (over-the-counter and prescriptions) can decrease salivary flow, which puts patients at risk for cavities, gum disease and discomfort.
Patients with eating disorders, such as bulimia (self-induced vomiting) can't hide their symptoms from their dentists because the episodes of binging and purging cause erosion on the backside of the upper front teeth and sores appear at the corners of the mouth.
Smoking also creates a higher risk for periodontal disease.
If you have any questions about women's health, Dr. Mahlin would be happy to discuss them with you