Have you ever wondered if women and men have differing dental needs? When it comes to healthcare needs, most of us are very familiar with the different needs that men and women have. To the surprise of many, the same applies to dental health as well. As a woman goes through various stages of life, the changes and shifts in hormone levels contribute greatly to tooth and gum health. Today, we’ll have a look at what women need to pay attention to at various stages of life in order to maintain a healthy smile, so read on to find out more.
Puberty & Adolescence
As soon as a girl hits puberty and begins to mature into a woman, she will experience significant changes in hormones that can start as early as 8 years old. During this phase of puberty, it is incredibly common for girls to experience numerous emotional and mood changes due to fluctuating estrogen, and progesterone levels. Unfortunately, both these hormones can affect dental health as they increase blood flow to the gums, resulting in sore or swollen gums that may bleed when brushing or flossing.
At this stage in life, it is important that young girls and adolescents pay close attention to their oral health and adopt a regular brushing and flossing routine. It is also always recommended that young girls visit the dentist at least twice a year for a full clean and check up, especially if she is considering undergoing orthodontic treatment such as braces or clear aligners.
In the later phases of puberty when menstruation starts, further shifts in hormones will occur in a female’s body. Once menstruation starts, it is incredibly important for females to double down on their dental hygiene practices as hormonal fluctuations may cause dry mouth, cavities and canker sores.
When it is time for a woman to become a mother, she can expect pregnancy to once again bring in a flood of fluctuating hormones that can have a massive impact on gum and oral health. It is not uncommon for pregnant women to lose their teeth during pregnancy and this is caused by, you guessed it, elevated levels of progesterone and estrogen. These high levels of hormones can cause gums and bones to temporarily loosen, thus resulting in tooth loss. At this stage of life, it is vital that women eat foods rich in calcium on top of brushing with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day, flossing, and scheduling frequent visits to the dentist in order to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Sadly, studies show that poor dental health may lead to premature births, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia, making it all that more important for expectant mothers to keep on top of their dental health.
Menopause and Beyond
The final stage of huge hormonal shifts in a woman’s life comes during menopause. Women may hit menopause between the ages of 45-55, some reaching it earlier and others later. During this stage of life, instead of estrogen increasing, it decreases significantly and puts a woman at higher risk of osteoporosis, bone loss and weakening of the jaw bone. Left untreated, this can result in a woman losing all her teeth and requiring dentures or dental implants. The best way to minimise this risk is to brush and floss religiously, maintain a healthy and balanced diet, supplement as needed and of course, visit the dentist regularly.
A woman’s life is one that is full of ups and downs starting from an early age all the way into her golden years. By practicing good dental hygiene habits and visiting the dentist frequently, you will be able to combat some of the common dental issues that women face throughout the various stages of their lives.
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