Oral health is an important concern for everyone.
However, the dental needs of men and women differ greatly. Hormonal changes throughout women’s lives such as menstruation, pregnancy, and eventually menopause can impact their dental health. There are many more causes for these hormonal changes in women. Some are natural, while others have become an accepted part of life.
What causes hormonal changes in women?
- Puberty and menstruation – Many times, the changing hormones can have a more drastic effect than doctors and dentists previously believed. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), studies have shown that these fluctuating levels can cause “an increased prevalence of gingivitis” and more bacterial growth during puberty that feed off the extra estrogen. This can result in an increased likelihood of bleeding gums. Some adolescent females may also endure swollen gums, the start of recurring herpes infections, ulcers, and above-average bleeding after oral surgery.
- Pregnancy – During pregnancy, there are additional factors to consider. Morning sickness can have disastrous effects on a mother’s teeth. The acids remain, eating away at women’s tooth enamel and irritating their gums. The gums may recede, leaving larger pockets for foods, drinks, and acidic residue to attack the base of the teeth. In addition, the ADA also states that up to 10 percent of pregnant women develop “single, tumor-like growths,” called pregnancy tumors or granulomas. These sometimes require surgical removal. During pregnancy, women’s teeth can also become loose, and they may develop dry mouth.
- Other problems during and after pregnancy can result from prescribed medications. They affect the mother’s breast milk and are passed on through breastfeeding. Periodontal diseases can become a problem for the newborn child, especially in infants with low birth weights. Some children may even develop caries.
- Menopause – Menopause signals an onset of other oral health challenges, including oral discomfort, abnormal tastes, and burning sensations. Additionally, the increased likelihood of developing osteoporosis can affect the oral cavity.
- Birth control and medications – Medications can have adverse effects on women’s oral health beyond what is passed to children. Some medications may cause localized osteitis, more commonly known as “dry socket,” after the extraction of teeth. Other medications can cause bruxism and temporomandibular disorders.
- Eating disorders – Anorexia and bulimia are also causes for oral healthcare problems and are more prevalent in women. Malnutrition and the concentration of acidic residue within the mouth can negatively affect women’s teeth.
Should women receive different dental care?
Women’s oral healthcare needs differ from men’s significantly. As a result, more intensive tooth-care regiments and regular checkups with your dentist are advised. Other actions may be recommended by your dentist in Cambridge.