Taking good care of your teeth is a must regardless of your age or sex – we all need to be vigilant about maintain excellent oral health.
As a woman, though, there may be specific times in your life when it becomes doubly important to take care of your overall health. Oral health is an important factor in maintaining overall health as many studies have shown the link between certain forms of oral diseases and diseases in other parts of the body.
Whether you are going through puberty, pregnancy or menopause it is always best to be cautious and do the best you can to maintain great oral hygiene. This goes beyond the basics such as brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and visiting the
Here’s a brief overview of what special care must be taken by women at different stages in their lives.
Sex hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, may cause a number of changes in your body during this time,most of which are obvious and well known. What might surprise you is the effect these hormones have on your gums.
Blood circulation is increased to the gums during puberty due to these hormones, which results in the gums becoming much more sensitive. The increased sensitivity means your gums react more to irritations such as plaque or food particle build up. Gums tend to swell up, turn red or even become tender during this phase.
The effects of uber sensitive gums will subside as you age and leave puberty behind. But in the meantime, good oral hygiene practices must be followed to avoid any sort of issue. Dentists may sometimes recommend periodontal therapy for girls going through puberty.
Some women tend to experience a rare form of gingivitis which only occurs during menstruation. Menstruation gingivitis involves symptoms such as sores on the insides of cheeks, swollen gums, redness and bleeding gums. This sort of menstruation gingivitis tends to occur before a woman’s period starts and subsides when it has started. The best thing to do is to wait for the effects to subside in this case.
Menstruation is not the only time when women may experience an increased likelihood of gingivitis - some experience gingivitis during pregnancies as well. Usually this occurs in either the second or third month of the pregnancy. The usual redness, tenderness, swelling and bleeding is associated with this type of gingivitis.
The difference is that in rare cases, lumps might form on the gums as they have become more susceptible to irritants. These lumps, known as pregnancy tumors, are benign and painless though - they are not cancerous. But if the lumps continue to persist for a prolonged amount of time, they may need to be removed by a dentist.
There are also studies which link the increased chances of low-weight births and pre-term births to periodontal disease. The chances of having a lighter or smaller than expected baby may be upped by almost 700% if the mother suffers from periodontal disease. During a pregnancy, all infections, especially periodontal infections, must be treated immediately and with caution.
The effects of periodontal disease are also observed in women who use an oral contraceptive pill. Women on the pill may use antibiotics to counteract the effects of oral contraceptives on gum disease.
If you are pregnant or planning on having a baby soon pay special attention to gum disease and prevent it to help your baby grow strong and healthy.
Women going through menopause or post-menopause may notice that their teeth and gums are subtly different. Discomfort, dryness, pain, burning sensations and bleeding in the gums are common during menopause. Taste may also be altered during this phase in a woman’s life. Salty, peppery or sour tastes may have a different effect on taste buds.
Although it is a rare condition, menopausal gingivostomatitis affects a small number of women during this time. Gums may become dry and look pale as a result. Sometimes they make look shiny and bleed easily too. Estrogen supplements can help women suffering from this condition relieve themselves of the symptoms.
A lot of menopausal and post-menopausal women consider hormone replacement therapy. HRT is very effective in counteracting bone loss. Research has not yet fully established a link between osteoporosis and periodontal disease, but HRT may protect a woman's teeth and gums as much as all the other bones in her body.
No matter how old you are, woman in general are more susceptible to gum disease and need to take better care than men, mainly due to erratic fluctuations in hormone production. Periodontal disease is a silent killer and severe cases may result in damage to the supporting tissue in the mouth. The very best way to avoid any long term damage is to visit your dentist regularly so that any unusual symptoms can be addressed immediately.
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