Women and Oral Health
Overall, advice given for oral health tends to be the same for both men and women - but this doesn’t mean that oral health isn’t affected by sex! While the basic advice of brushing and flossing twice daily is important for people of all genders, there are some things to look out for if you have a female body. Read on to find out more about women’s oral health!
During menstruation, a woman’s body is flooded with hormones. High levels of progesterone can increase the likelihood of swollen or bleeding gums, swollen salivary glands, and even canker sores! These should clear up naturally as your period passes, but require a bit more caution when brushing in the meantime! During your period, make sure you brush and floss gently so as not to aggravate sore gums.
Pregnancy affects a woman’s body in many, sometimes dramatic, ways. Pregnant women are more likely to experience periodontal disease and cavities, as well as bleeding and sore gums from soaring hormone levels. These same hormones can even temporarily loosen the muscles and bones that keep your teeth in place! Oral healthcare is an especially important part of prenatal care, so if you are pregnant or planning to be so, make sure to consult your oral health professional to make sure you’re keeping your teeth strong and healthy throughout your gestation period.
The Opposite of Pregnancy Scares
The very medications which keep us from getting pregnant, oral contraceptives, can also have negative effects on your oral and dental health. Because these work by changing your internal hormone levels, women who regularly take oral contraceptives are at a higher risk of sensitivity in the gums, plaque buildup, and even reduced blood supply to your gum tissue! If you are taking oral contraceptives, be sure to brush gently and consult with your dentist for tailored advice for your teeth.
Period on Pause
Menopause is a time of huge change in a woman’s body which affects everything, including teeth and gums. During menopause, women are more likely to experience sore teeth and gums, dry mouth, and an alteration is taste sensations. If you are experiencing menopause, make sure to use interdental brushes daily to help to stop plaque from forming, and minimise your sugary food and drink intake to ensure your teeth stay as healthy as possible, for as long as possible! For tips on how to reduce your sugar intake without avoiding all sweets, check out our previous blog!
Remember, Teeth are Bones!
Hormonal changes around menopause can also include the development of osteoporosis, which is a weakening of the bones. Research suggests that this can also affect jaw and tooth health, and cause them to become more brittle. If you are concerned that you might have osteoporosis, make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible to get advice on how best to manage your bone health.