In recent years, the physical, social, and health issues that women face in their daily lives have been making headlines. Campaigns like “Real Beauty” and “Go Red for Women” have made Dove a household name and have been extremely successful at spreading awareness. However, the impact oral health has on women’s overall health and self-esteem has gone largely unrecognized.
Maintaining good oral health has value beyond the obvious aesthetic rewards of a beautiful, straight, white smile. It protects overall health and can even protect the health of a woman’s unborn child. The stages of women’s lives affect their oral health requirements. As female hormone levels change during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, the way gums react to plaque is magnified, and the attention that a woman pays to her oral health and hygiene habits should be increased.
Fluctuation in female hormones can increase the occurrence of:
- Cold sores and canker sores
- Dry mouth
- Changes in taste
- Gum disease
Recent research has linked gum disease to health problems that affect women. Gum disease is a bacterial infection and, as a result, can enter the bloodstream and cause other health issues.
- Heart disease: Gum disease increases the risk of heart disease and double’s the risk of having a fatal heart attack. Heart disease is the number-one killer of women in America.
- Stroke: Studies have linked gum disease to strokes.
- Pregnancy outcomes: Gum disease during pregnancy can increase chances of a premature birth.
Women’s Oral Health/Life Cycle Relationship
During puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, women are especially susceptible to gum disease and should be especially thorough with their brushing and flossing habits. Throughout her life cycle, a woman should also be aware of these health connections.
- Menstruation: It is not uncommon for gums to swell and bleed prior to menstruation. Some women may also suffer from the formation of canker sores. These symptoms typically disappear once their period arrives.
- Oral birth control: Inflamed gums are a common side effect of taking the pill.
- Pregnancy: Pregnancy gingivitis is common and can be identified by red, inflamed, and bleeding gums. If left untreated, it can increase the chance of a premature birth.
- Menopause: Typical mouth changes that occur during menopause are red or inflamed gums, oral pain and discomfort, burning sensations, altered taste, and dry mouth.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and need guidance or relief, or if you would simply like to know more about what to prepare for during your various ages and stages, call us at (816) 252-1590!