INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY: A LOOK AT WOMEN'S DENTAL HEALTH

Did you know that, on average, women visit the dentist more than men? It's true. Women and men have different dental care needs and factors that impact their oral health, but did you know women take care of their teeth differently? Let us look at women's oral health and how it can differ from men's. 

A woman's oral health is essential for her overall systemic health. Certain diseases like heart disease and respiratory stroke disorders are all related to gum diseases, mainly because of the bacteria present that can be transported across the bloodstream.  As compared to men, women's oral health is affected in several stages in life, such as puberty, mensuration, pregnancy. Various other factors like oral contraceptives and menopausal stage also make women more prone to dental diseases. The surge in hormones like progesterone and estrogen, during pregnancy causes more blood to flow to the gums, which causes them to become more sensitive. These fluctuations have a significant impact on a woman's oral health, specifically her gums.

Moreover, women are at a greater risk for dental issues than men due to their cariogenic oral environment and frequent snacking during child expectations. Additionally, genetics play a vital role in determining the enamel structure, and the enamel structure explains how likely you are to undergo tooth decay. Deficiency in hormone levels may disrupt the enamel matrix formation, which increases the risk of root caries and gingival recession. If you want to improve your oral health and learn more about how different stages in women's life can affect their oral health, and how to take care of your dental health, keep reading.

Causes and symptoms of deteriorating oral health in women.  

Menstruation- Due to the hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle, some women experience oral changes and hygiene issues, including bright red swollen gums, swollen salivary glands, development of canker sores, or bleeding gum. An increase in the hormonal levels during puberty can also be a cause of bleeding and sour gums that make them more weak and sensitive to bacteria and plaque, which can lead to gingivitis. Regular flossing, brushing, and frequent visits to the dentist can help prevent bacterial infections and oral diseases in their mouth.  

Pregnancy- Pregnancy is a wonderful stage in a woman’s life and one may go through various unexpected symptoms during pregnancy- dental problems being one of them.  During certain stages in pregnancy, women may experience cold sores, gingival bleeding, gum irritation and mouth ulcers. Most women often get scared of these symptoms and mistake them for serious dental diseases. While it is essential to maintain dental health during these times due to the extra sensitivity in the gums, it is crucial to know that experiencing dental problems during pregnancy are normal. It is essential for expectant mothers to take good care of their teeth and gums and make frequent visits to the dentist to maintain their dental hygiene and take care of themselves and the baby.

Menopause- is a stage in women’s life that cause biological and endocrine changes that occur due to a decline in estrogen level that causes risk of bone loss, osteoporosis and inflammation of the tissues. During this time, women undergo numerous oral changes such as burning sensation, decreased salivary flow, altered taste and greater sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages, which negatively affect dental health. Women during this time experience dry mouth, sour and sensitive gums and taste sensations that can cause tooth decay and gum diseases as the saliva doesn't moist the mouth by neutralizing acids produced by plaque. It is important for women during menopause to maintain their dental health by brushing, flossing, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and frequently visiting the dentist that helps them prevent the risk of tooth loss and oral disease in their mouth. 

Let's look at some preventive measures and tips for keeping your teeth and gums healthy across different stages of your life. 

  • Use toothpaste containing fluoride to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day.
  • Intake of a nutritious and well-balanced diet. 
  • Change your toothbrush 3 or 4 times per year
  • Avoid artificially sweetened foods and drinks.
  • Reduce intake of sugary and starchy snacks.
  • A visit in time saves nine. Consult your dentist immediately if you develop any symptoms and get them treated at the earliest. 
  • Do not smoke or use smokeless tobacco
  • Make sure you visit your dentist at least twice a year to undergo professional oral examinations.