Dental Care for Women – from Puberty to Menopause
Women have different oral health issues than men due to the hormonal changes that take place throughout life. These hormonal changes affect the gum tissues and the body’s response to plaque bacteria.
Changes in hormone levels mean women are more prone towards developing gum disease at certain times throughout their life. These times include puberty, during menstruation, while taking birth control pills, during pregnancy, and during the menopause.
During puberty, there is an increase in progesterone and estrogen levels which increases the flow of blood to the gums. The gum tissue becomes more sensitive to plaque. As a result, the gums are more likely to bleed when brushed and flossed and may look red and swollen.
A women’s’ progesterone increases during menstruation. The rise in progesterone can develop into a condition called menstruation gingivitis.
This condition begins a day or so before menstruation and clears up shortly after it’s already started. During menstruation, women are also more likely to develop canker sores.
Birth Control Pills
Certain types of birth control pills contain progesterone, and increased levels of this hormone can produce an exaggerated reaction in the gum tissue towards the plaque. If you are on the pill, it’s essential to let your dentist know just in case you require extra dental care.
Pregnancy causes a considerable variation in hormone levels, in particular in progesterone.
This rise in hormones can lead to a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.
If you are pregnant, then your dentist may recommend more frequent checkups and professional cleanings to help reduce the chances of you developing pregnancy gingivitis.
The menopause brings about its hormonal changes that can lead to altered taste and an unpleasant condition called a burning mouth. It’s also a time when many older people need to take medications that may affect oral health.
These medications can increase the chances of dry mouth. Where insufficient saliva is produced to keep the mouth comfortable, and as a result, the likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease can increase. At this time estrogen levels also decline, and this can lead to a loss of bone density which can be a problem, primarily if it occurs in the jaw.
Midtown Dentistry can provide dental care regardless of your age and can advise you and offer practical help and advice at all stages throughout your life. Additional dental care at these times can help keep your teeth and gums healthy, increasing the likelihood that they’ll last a lifetime.