It can be very easy to underestimate how important our oral health is in our daily lives. Good dental health allows us to speak, eat, smile, and live painlessly.
We should also remember the importance of oral health in the lives of our loved ones, especially this August 26th as we celebrate Women’s Equality Day. This day gives us the opportunity to not only honor the women in our lives but also serves as the perfect reminder to consider their well-being and health as well.
Excellent oral health can help to protect the women that we love, keeping them strong and ready to continue making this world a better place for all. Regular visits to the dentist are essential for women of all ages, especially as they transition from one stage of life into another, which comes with hormonal changes that can affect their teeth and mouths.
Let your McAllen dentists at WhiteWing Dental provide you some insight into how women’s oral health can be affected at various stages in their lives.
The Importance of Oral Health as Women Age
Oral health should concern everyone, however, women are more susceptible to certain oral conditions due to the hormonal changes they go through as they age. Some of the major milestones that can affect oral health include:
During puberty, the female body begins to produce higher levels of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones trigger a reaction in the gums which may cause the gums to swell, redden, and bleed. Due to this reaction, gums tend to react differently to germs and bacteria which can lead to cavities, gingivitis and/or bad breath.
During menstruation, women are much more likely to suffer from canker sores and swollen salivary glands. While these issues generally subside after a few days, it may be necessary to seek out medical care should they continue on for extended amounts of time.
Birth Control Use
If you have started using birth control, it is important to notify your dentist. Birth control increases hormones in the body, particularly progesterone, which can lead to inflamed gum tissues and other oral issues.
Pregnant women should take special care of their oral health. Oral infections and bacteria/viruses from other dental diseases can easily pass from mommy to baby.
Additionally, an increase in hormones is the leading cause of “pregnancy gingivitis.” Symptoms can include inflammation, tenderness, redness, and bleeding of the gums. If not treated promptly, pregnancy gingivitis can evolve into much more serious periodontitis – or gum disease. Periodontitis has been proven to increase the likelihood of a premature birth or low birth weight.
Women should keep a keen eye out for any oral health issues during menopause and postmenopause. Postmenopausal women often report dry mouth.
Dry mouth is a decrease in saliva production. A lack of saliva increases the chances of contracting gum disease, tooth decay, or bad breath.
Other Factors that Can Cause Oral Health Issues in Women
There are an additional number of lifestyle factors that can lead to oral health issues including:
- Smoking – Can increase the risk of gum disease and other health issues.
- Medications – Can alter saliva production which affects gums and teeth.
- Diet pills – Can alter saliva production and lead to periodontal disease.
Oral Health Linked to a Number of Illnesses
It is important to recognize that oral health should NOT only be considered during these various transitions in life but at all times. Many diseases have been linked to oral health care including:
- Endocarditis – Endocarditis takes place when germs from somewhere in your body, like your mouth, travel through your bloodstream and infect damaged areas of your heart. This bacteria infects the inner lining of your heart and can cause serious health issues.
- Cardiovascular Disease – Heart disease has been linked to infections caused by oral bacteria.
- Diabetes – Diabetes affects the body’s defense system and puts the gums at a high risk of infection. We often see gum disease appear in people who have trouble controlling their blood sugar levels.
- Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis is positively linked to tooth and periodontal (gum area) bone loss.
Many of these oral health conditions can be avoided by having a strong oral care routine and visiting the dentist regularly. Let us show the women in our lives how much we care for them this Women’s Equality Day by scheduling them a check-up at WhiteWing Dental.