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 are constantly changing with fluctuating blood supply and exaggerating plaque irritations.
Research shows that periodontal disease (gum disease) is correlated with serious health issues like heart problems, respiratory infections, and diabetes. There’s also a significant association between the pervasiveness of periodontal disease and obesity. The latter is specifically true with 18- to 34-year-old women.
The concurrence between cardiovascular diseases with periodontal problems is based on conclusive research. However, extensive study is still required to show the direct link.
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. Likewise, this increases the blood supply to the gums and amplifies gum sensitivity.
This hormonal influx can overstress the reaction of gum tissue to plaque irritants. As a result, this causes gum tenderness, redness, and possible bleeding. Only a dental professional can perform the removal of plaque 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. The latter is due to the sudden progesterone rush. While some are lucky not to notice these nuances, the degree of severity in others is immense. This is 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 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.
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.
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.
The growth to womanhood is definitely hurdled by various health threats juxtaposed at certain phases of their lives. As a girl develops, it is important to remember that the best and most fundamental defense against the risks of oral health conditions is diligent care.
- 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