You might not realise it but the oral health of women can be a bit different from those of us who belong to the male gender.
Yes, both men and women need to brush twice daily, floss regularly, and get 6 monthly check-ups to keep on top of oral hygiene.
But women can experience a spike in oral issues caused by changes in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels – and this usually happens in puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Those two magic hormones do a lot of great things in a woman’s body but they can also (unfortunately) exaggerate the way gums react to plaque.
As if the usual peri-menopausal symptoms aren’t enough – you know, hot flushes, mood swings, loss of bone density, sleeplessness etc – some women also experience a very dry mouth as a result of lower estrogen.
Peri-menopausal women can also experience discomfort from red and inflamed gums and develop an altered taste sensation. Even a burning sensation in the mouth can happen from time to time.
Women are also more susceptible to Periodontitis (gum disease) disease following menopause. Periodontal disease is often a “silent” disease, and many women do not realise they have it until it reaches an advanced state.
The good news is that gum disease is not only preventable, it is 100% treatable. Come and see us if you have ANY of these concerns about your teeth and your gums – age, and menopause, is no barrier to having good teeth.
Some women experience swelling or bleeding gums just prior to having a period, and it can also be a time where those dreaded cold sores make an appearance. The good news is these symptoms are typically short-lived and usually go away once a period starts.
If you take oral contraceptives — just be mindful that inflamed gums are a pretty common side effect so if you have this issue, please let us know so we can help you keep it in check.
In fact is also really important to keep us informed about any medications you are taking and any changes in your health history.
Have you ever heard the saying ‘Gain a child, lose a tooth?’ This saying stems from the old wives’ tale about pregnancy being linked to a decline in oral health.
Is there any truth to this ugly rumour? Well…yes…sort of. (But it doesn’t have to be that way.)
First and foremost, when you visit us, please tell us if you are pregnant.
Pre-natal care is especially important for the oral health of pregnant women. Getting a dental check-up during pregnancy is not only safe, but important for a woman’s health and the health of the unborn child.
Pregnancy hormones affect the way gums react to plaque, so pregnant women are more likely to develop pregnancy gingivitis, when dental plaque builds up on the teeth and irritates the gums. Symptoms include red, inflamed and bleeding gums. In short, a pretty sore old mouth.
The dreaded morning sickness also impacts the health of a woman’s mouth.
When someone is sick and brings up the contents of their stomach, it is full of nasty acids🤢 that can be quite damaging to teeth enamel. So it is really important to rinse your mouth out with water after being sick. Tempting as it is to rush to the vanity and give your mouth a good brush straight away, it’s best to wait about 30 minutes before brushing.
Why? Because if you brush your teeth straight after vomiting you risk brushing off the enamel from your teeth which becomes softer from the stomach acid. Use a mouth wash in order to feel a little refreshed while you wait. If you are vomiting on a regular basis and your teeth are getting exposed to a fair bit of acid it would be a good idea to mention it to us when you visit.
Some pregnant women also experience nausea from strongly flavoured toothpastes. Switching to a neutral-flavored toothpaste may help to keep the nausea at bay.
Don’t worry, not every woman experiences these side effects from menopause, menstruation or pregnancy. But it is important to be aware of any changes that may be happening during these phases of your life and to keep on top of your dental hygiene.
If you experience any of these symptoms, or are worried about any issues related to your teeth or gums, please come and talk to us at Taree Dental Care.
Give us a call on (02) 6550 0960 to make an appointment.
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