Did you know that gum disease affects a staggering 75% of adults at some point in their lives? And it turns out that women are especially vulnerable to this condition due to hormonal imbalances. From puberty to menopause, a woman’s gums undergo constant changes that make them more susceptible to plaque buildup and irritation.
Research also reveals a concerning connection between gum disease and serious health issues like heart problems, respiratory infections, and diabetes. Even obesity has been found to play a role, particularly among women aged 18 to 34.
To ensure optimal oral health, it’s important to address the unique needs of women during different stages of life.
Before puberty strikes, a girl’s hormone levels are relatively low and stable. Their oral health, then, usually hinges on other factors. These factors typically include their maintenance and diet. However, they also extend to a predisposition towards certain diseases, either genetically or environmentally.By the time they reach puberty, however, their hormone levels are significantly heightened. With estrogen and progesterone up, blood flow to the gums increases. Because of this, their gums may swell and may be more sensitive to flossing and brushing, particularly in the presence of plaque. This inflammatory response happens because a woman’s mouth has a harder time fighting off plaque compared to when she has normal hormone levels.While you can’t do much to fight this off, the best course of action is to still keep to a solid dental hygiene foundation. Even if brushing and flossing might be uncomfortable at this time, continuing can prevent worse ailments. Just be a little gentle.
During the menstrual cycle, progesterone and estrogen levels fluctuate regularly. As such, these fluctuations may wreak a little havoc on a woman’s gums and mouth. The swollen gums from puberty become a mainstay during this time. Pre-menstruation, a woman may encounter what some call “menstrual gingivitis.” This condition bears the same symptoms as a regular bout of gingivitis. The symptoms, however, go away once a woman’s cycle begins. Other problems may include oral sores.Much like puberty, the only way to combat this is to keep to your dental routine. In the case of gingivitis, you can consult your dentist on mitigating the symptoms. Lessening your sugar intake might also bring down the swelling while starving. But even if they don’t, it can nonetheless give your oral bacteria less fuel for the fire.
Gingivitis is prevalent to approximately 75 percent of pregnant women. This gum problem typically intensifies during the second trimester, becomes most severe in the eighth month, and begins to subside in the ninth. Pregnancy-related gingivitis is accompanied by swelling, redness, and bleeding. These symptoms arise 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 irritants like tartar, plaque, and food scraps. Common during the third month of pregnancy, these growths are often painless. Unfortunately, its interferences with chewing can be a problem.
While your immune system is partially responsible for keeping your body (and fetus) healthy, letting oral bacteria multiply excessively can be too much for your body to fight off. It can also cause other health ailments in the future.
Both pregnancy-related gingivitis and tumors are treatable. 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.
Those expecting should still attend their biannual dental visits, or more if necessary, to ensure their oral standing is where it needs to be. Please notify your dentist if you are pregnant to provide specific treatments, materials, and such are not used if they are risky for fetuses in the womb.
Another significant change in hormones in a woman’s life comes through menopause, which again can cause oral health issues. Menopause marks the cessation of menstrual cycles. Generally occurring around age 45 to 55, this normal transition is associated with certain oral symptoms. Symptoms might include an altered taste, dry mouth, gum inflammation, oral bone loss, and burning gums. The culprits of these menopausal changes are often due to certain medical conditions, medications, vitamin deficiencies, and hormonal changes.
Each phase of a woman’s life presents unique challenges for oral health. By understanding and addressing these challenges, women can maintain a healthy and beautiful smile throughout their lives.