How does a women’s oral health change throughout her life?
Although on average, women visit the dentist more often than men, women are more likely to experience sudden spikes in oral health issues. As only women experience more concentrated changes in their hormones, especially during pregnancy and menopause, there are a number of oral health issues which may surface at different stages of a woman’s life.
Many women are surprised to find out that menstruation can have a big effect on their oral health. Some women find that their gums swell and bleed prior to their period, while some may experience cold sores and mouth ulcers. Thankfully these symptoms generally disappear once your period starts; however, it’s important to understand how these can be managed. Paying extra attention to brushing and flossing the week before your period can help to deter gum disease.
Oral contraceptives can be taken for a number of reasons and will often have an effect on the levels of oestrogen in your body. As your gums have a large amount of oestrogen receptors, they become prone to inflammation and sensitivity.
Although not every woman experiences pregnancy, it can have a huge effect on your oral health. Pregnant women are more likely to develop gingivitis due to pregnancy hormones affecting the way the gums react to plaque. This can then lead to periodontitis, which can cause loss of tissue and bone which holds the teeth firm. During pregnancy you can minimise your risks of oral health issues by brushing at least twice a day, maintaining a healthy diet, and ensuring you rinse your mouth with water if you’re unlucky enough to experience vomiting from morning sickness. It’s best to keep up your regular dental checks during this time too.
It’s never a welcome change but it’s inevitable that as you get older you will experience menopause. Along with other changes, your oral health can be negatively affected. These changes can include red or inflamed gums, oral pain and discomfort, burning sensations, altered taste sensations and a dry mouth.