There are a lot of differences between men and women, especially when it comes to healthcare needs. Dental health is no exception. During this year’s National Women’s Health Week, your dentist in McMinnville is here to share some key information about the importance of dental care throughout various stages of a woman’s life.
Change Is Inevitable
Even though we’d all like for things to remain the same day after day, that’s, unfortunately, not how life works. Things change every day, and sometimes multiple times in the same 24 hours. But when it comes to growing up, the changes that our bodies go through may seem to happen more slowly. That doesn’t make them any less important, though. While both men and women go through different stages and changes throughout their lives, it’s important to your dentist in McMinnville that you know that women’s hormonal changes can affect both overall health and oral health.
The first time a woman goes through significant changes in their hormones is during puberty. Puberty can begin as early as age 8 and usually happens by the time a young woman turns 14, although this can vary from person to person. During puberty, it’s common to experience a whole lot of changes including emotional, mood, estrogen, and progesterone fluctuations. Those last two hormones are what can affect dental health. Since estrogen and progesterone increase blood flow to the gums, it’s common for pubescent women to have swollen gums or red gums that can bleed when brushing or flossing. If this occurs, make sure to talk to your dentist in McMinnville at your next visit and keep brushing (gently!) and flossing every day to protect yourself from gum disease.
After puberty and still, when most women are in their early to late teens, additional shifts in hormones will continue to occur. Once a woman starts her menstrual cycle, it’s important to keep a close watch on gum health. During this time, it’s common for women to experience sore gums or sometimes canker sores. Both should go away on their own, but if they don’t, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Additionally, hormonal changes during this stage of life can also cause dry mouth and increase the risk of bad breath or cavities.
When it’s time for a woman to become a mother, pregnancy will once again bring on a whole host of hormonal changes. Dental care during pregnancy is incredibly important as numerous studies show that poor dental health can lead to premature births, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. The gum disease gingivitis is also common in pregnant women. In fact, about half of all pregnant women will develop gingivitis thanks to changes in hormones. Continue to brush and floss regularly and see your dentist in McMinnville throughout your pregnancy.
The final stage of large hormonal changes in women is during menopause. This time, instead of estrogen increasing, it decreases. With a loss of estrogen, women can develop osteoporosis, bone loss, and weakening of the jaw bone. The weaker the jaw bone, the more likely it is to experience tooth loss and require replacement teeth with dentures or dental implants.
During this National Women’s Health Week, and all year round, we want all of our amazing and strong female patients to practice good oral hygiene habits and see us twice a year for dental cleanings and checkups. After all, your teeth are important during every stage of life, and we want to help you keep them healthy.