Women’s Dental Health
At Strand on the Green Dental Practice we like to keep you informed on general health issues which can influence your dental health. Considering recent research regarding a higher chance of tooth loss in woman going through the menopause (you can read the full research by clicking here) I thought we’d look at the role hormonal changes have in dental health.
In puberty, during pregnancy, right through to menopause, hormones cause physical changes that can adversely affect teeth and gums, and it is constant. For this reason, women are advised to take particular care with their dental health and adhere to check-ups very closely during those times. Let’s look at this in a little more detail:
Everyone remembers those annoying ulcers, right? It turns out they are really common. Occasionally gums would bleed and gums would feel funny. These minor complaints are caused by fluctuations in hormones, which in turn can alter the bacteria in the mouth. These are nothing to worry about, provided teens get good nutrition, rest and keep up good oral care, particularly if they’re undergoing orthodontic treatment.
In the pre-menstrual phase women can feel run down. The discomfort and difficulties can extend to gums bleeding slightly and sensitivity as well as other symptoms, though they mostly abate once menstruation starts.
Oral contraceptives alter the balance of hormones, and some are known to predispose women to gum inflammation, also known as gingivitis. Therefore, it is of particular importance to floss and brush carefully to a) remove the plaque as best you can, and b) go gently so as not to worsen any bleeding.
Pregnancy & Lactation
The physical changes are too many to count in pregnancy, suffice it to say that extra care must be taken in oral health during these two phases. Morning sickness or worse, Hyperemesis gravidarum, means that tooth enamel is exposed to stomach acid with alarming regularity. It is important to check teeth and gums regularly, brush and floss carefully to prevent the all-too-common problem of gum disease, and to act if any changes are spotted. During breastfeeding, being vigilant in the other changes that occur helps. Change in the mother’s self-care routine as she attends to the needs of the baby means she may forego or forget to brush & floss as regularly as needed, adding to the risk of tooth decay. Sleep deprivation, tiredness and stress can bring on teeth grinding or jaw clenching, which have their own problematic outcomes if not attended to.
This phase can prove challenging for women, as they can suffer from dry mouth, bleeding gums and something called ‘burning mouth syndrome’, a painful sensation to the tongue, pallet and lips, which can be treated in a range of ways. If you think your oral health is being compromised at this time, and you feel you need some help managing any number of symptoms, it is best not to wait.
If you need any assistance with your dental health call us on 020 8995 0298 to book an appointment.