According to the American Dental Association, gum disease inflicts an average of three out of four adults at any given period of their lifetime. And due to periodic and erratic hormonal imbalances, women are more susceptible to these concerns. From puberty to post-menopausal stage, a woman’s gums, in particular, are constantly bombarded with fluctuating blood supply, exaggerating plaque irritations and periodontal diseases.
Research shows that periodontal diseases (gum diseases) are correlated with serious health issues like heart problem, respiratory infection, and diabetes. There’s also a significant association between the pervasiveness of periodontal disease and obesity, specifically with 18- to 34-year old women.
The concurrence between cardiovascular diseases like hypertension and elevated blood pressure with periodontal problems is established based on conclusive research. Extensive study is still required to show the direct link between heart disease and gum infections, as well as cholesterol levels and lipid metabolism.
The oral health care requisites of women vary depending on certain critical periods of their lifespan.
When a girl reaches adolescence, the production of progesterone and estrogen, the female sex hormones increase. This likewise increases blood supply to the gums and amplifies gum sensitivity.
This hormonal influx can overstress the reaction of gum tissues to plaque irritants, causing gum tenderness, redness, and a possible bleeding. Only a dental professional can perform the removal of plaque irritants in order to protect the gums and its surrounding structures. To avoid swelling, diligent oral care regimens are vital during this period.
Before menses start, some women may experience several oral changes like lesions, canker sores, gingivitis, and swelling of the salivary glands due to sudden progesterone rush. While some are lucky not to notice these nuances, the degree of severity in others is immense, especially those with existing periodontal pockets and infections. Menstruation gingivitis usually occurs a few days prior to a woman’s period and goes away once the period starts.
Gingivitis is prevalent to at most 75 percent of pregnant women. This gum problem typically intensifies during the second trimester, and becomes more severe in the eighth month, then begins to subside in the ninth. Pregnancy-related gingivitis is accompanied by swelling, redness, and bleeding as the progesterone level in the body adversely affects the gums.
Aside from gingivitis, pregnant women are also prone to pregnancy tumors. This condition arises from the exaggerated inflammatory reaction to localized irritants like tartar, plaque, and food scraps. Common during the third month of pregnancy, this growth is often painless, but its interferences with chewing can be a problem.
Both pregnancy-related gingivitis and tumors can be treated by professional consultation. Note that pregnancy tumors are not a form of cancer, so there’s no need to be deeply anxious if you have it. Still, extra care is necessary as these conditions may advance to more serious complications.
Menopause marks the cessation of menstrual cycles. Generally occurring around the age of 50, this normal transition is associated with certain oral discomforts like an altered taste, dry mouth, gum inflammation, oral bone loss, and burning gum sensations. The culprits of these menopausal changes are certain medical condition and medication, calcium and vitamin deficiency, and hormonal changes.
The growth to womanhood is definitely hurdled by various health threats juxtaposed at certain phases of their lives. As a girl transcends through these life cycle, it is important to remember that the best and most fundamental defense against the risks to oral and overall well-being are diligent care and a change-oriented attitude.
- Colgate. (2010, November 15). Women’s Oral Health And Overall Health. Retrieved from Colgate: http://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/adult-oral-care/womens-oral-health-and-overall-health