According to research recently published in the Journal of Periodontology, women are almost twice as likely to schedule regular dental checkups, have the recommended follow-up treatments and have better overall periodontal health than men. That’s good for women, because a woman’s hormone levels may increase your chances of developing gum disease. Trust your dentist in Washington to give you the facts and help you take care of your teeth and gums.
The Connection between Hormones and Gum Health
A woman’s hormones—estrogen and progesterone—increase blood flow to your gums. That’s why women’s gum tissue may be more sensitive and susceptible to irritation.
When these hormone levels increase, gum may become swollen and bleed. Left untreated, these initial signs of gum disease can worsen and cause damage to underlying bone tissue that supports your teeth. Eventually, tooth extraction may be necessary.
Phases of Life and Oral Health
Your family dentist in Washington would like to focus on five stages in a woman’s life as needing special oral health care.
During the teenage years, a young woman’s hormones are very active in preparation for life changes ahead. Consequently, a teenage girl’s gum can more susceptible to gingivitis, when gums become red and swollen.
Advise your daughter to be vigilant about brushing her teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice every day and flossing once a day. This will help to remove plaque, which is where the bacteria that cause gum disease hide.
Most women do not notice any changes in the oral health in the day before a period begins. However, if your gums seem swollen of if they bleed, then rising hormone levels may be to blame.
If these symptoms go away when your period stops then you probably don’t have anything to be concerned about. However, if the swelling and bleeding persist, then speak to your dentist near me.
Childbearing Years and Birth Control Pills
Fortunately, the levels of estrogen and progesterone in today’s birth control pills are far lower than in the past. Therefore, this type of contraception is not likely to spark any gum problems. Nevertheless, always make sure your dentist in Washington has a current list of your medication including birth control.
Hormones are hard at work when you’re pregnant. Some women develop what is called pregnancy gingivitis, which is a mild form of gum disease. Stick your daily oral hygiene routine and be sure to maintain regular checkups with the dentist while you are pregnant.
The “change of life” can bring on many changes in a woman’s mouth, including altered taste, increased tooth sensitivity and even burning sensations. The two most important changes to be aware of are the possibility of dry mouth and bone loss. Dry mouth is a result of decrease saliva production, which can increase the risk of cavities.
And just as decreased estrogen can lead to bone loss throughout the body, it can also cause your jawbone to weaken. Make sure you are getting the necessary amount of calcium and vitamin D in your diet to keep bones strong.
Your dentist in Washington is here to help you maintain oral health throughout your life. Call the office today to schedule a visit.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. James Mace is a family dentist in Washington, MO. He and his staff are committed to ensuring the health, beauty and longevity of your smile. If you’d like to learn more about how to maintain oral health for yourself and members of your family, contact us today.