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Women and Oral Health

March Is National Women’s Month….so Let’s focus on women!

It is essential that everyone take care of their oral health but females have special oral health considerations during different phases of life. Hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy, lactation, and menopause not only cause bloating, moodiness hot flashes and irritability but also take its toll on a woman’s oral health!

Surges in female hormones exaggerate the gums response to plaque which is why it is so important to continue with regular dental visits and be especially thorough when brushing and flossing to prevent gum disease.
Throughout these differing phases of life, women may experience:

• Cold sores or fever blisters
• Temporomandibular joint disorders, or myofascial pain
• Dry mouth or Sjorgen’s syndrome – leading to bad breath
• Changes in taste
• Higher risk of gum disease

Other important information:

• During menstruation, some women find that their gums swell and bleed prior to their periods, while others experience swollen salivary glands, cold sores or canker sores. These symptoms usually go away once your period starts.
• The most common side effects of oral contraceptives/birth control pills are inflamed and irritated gums.
• Menopause — oral symptoms experienced during this stage of a women’s life include red or inflamed gums, oral pain and discomfort, burning sensations, altered taste sensations and dry mouth.
• Osteoporosis — a number of studies have suggested a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. Researchers suggest this may lead to tooth loss because the density of the bone that supports teeth may be decreased. When combined with gum disease, osteoporosis speeds up the process of bone loss around the teeth.

It is especially important to go to your dentist for routine care during PREGNANCY. Remember that what you eat and how you care for your body affects your unborn child – including teeth. Since it is not routine to take X-rays during pregnancy it is even more critical that you have an oral exam completed by a dentist. Advancement in radiology- such as digital imaging – have decreased risks to your unborn baby. Therefore, if you do need x-rays for an emergency, the health risk to your unborn baby is small. In addition, pregnant women who have gum disease may be more likely to have a baby born too early or too small. Gum disease may also trigger increased levels of biological fluids that induce labor.

Here are some small, easy steps to keep gums healthy:

• Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day to get to what your brush might have missed.
• Practice a healthy lifestyle. Drink lots of water, eat healthy meals – limit candy and sweetened drinks, limit alcohol use and avoid tobacco use
• Get regular check ups – both from your primary care physician and your dentist.
• Follow the doctors advice!

Women should not be fearful of the dentist, as modern procedures at My Plantation Dentist make visits as safe and as comfortable as possible. There is no need to be shy or embarrassed to discuss any female issue that can cause dental concerns because we are well informed and are happy to discuss the matter thoroughly and put you at ease. Please call us at (954)584-1030.