Dr. Hanan A. Elsaie DDS,
America’s Top Dentists, Consumers’ Research Council of America, Guide to America’s Top Dentists
Dominion 1 Dental - Arlington, TX. Tel: (817) 784-7888
Women Dental Care
Oral health of women depends on their different stages of life. These changes are directly related to surges in sex hormone levels for many women, like in puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, lactation and menopause. TMJ or Temporomandibular joint problems, eating disorders, Sjogren’s syndrome or dry mouth, as well as Myofascial pain are more likely diagnosed in women.
A woman needs to stick to good oral hygiene. It is important to brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and after each meal if possible, as well as floss thoroughly each day. The dentist may request to see the patient more frequently during hormonal surges, to help avoid problems.
During puberty, sensitive gums that react more to irritants may be experienced by girls. The surge in hormones that takes place may cause swollen gums, especially during menstruation.
Use of birth control pills is two times as likely to lead to the development of dry sockets, and women should consult their dentist before scheduling major dental procedures. Oral contraceptives mimic pregnancy due to progesterone or estrogen contents. As a result, gingivitis may occur with long-term use. Use of certain antibiotics can decrease its efficacy while taking oral contraceptives.
During pregnancy, risk for increased inflammation of the gums is possible for pregnant women due to the surge in estrogen and progesterone. It can cause gingivitis-red, swollen, tender gums, if the plaque is not removed, that are more likely to bleed. Women with periodontal disease may be at risk for pre-term, low-birth weight babies. In addition, they are also at risk for developing pregnancy tumors-inflammatory, benign growths which develop when swollen gums become irritated. Typically, these tumors shrink soon after the pregnancy is over. It is important to neutralize the acid caused by vomiting, if a woman experiences morning sickness, which causes tooth erosion. A paste made of baking soda and water can be used by rubbing it on the teeth. Rinse off the paste, after thirty seconds, then brush and floss. Rinse with water if this is not possible.
During menopause, dry mouth, burning sensation as well as changes in taste can be experienced by some women. Gums can even turn out to be sore and sensitive. Hormonal replacement therapy may bring about bleeding, swelling gums as well as it may become red.
Other factors such as eating disorders such as bulimia or self-induced vomiting can cause erosion on the backside of the upper front teeth, through episodes of purging and binging. Sores that appear at the corners of the mouth are an additional sign. Diet pills as well as certain medications or over-the-counter and prescriptions can decrease salivary flow, which puts patients at risk for discomfort, cavities and gum disease. Smoking also produces a higher risk for periodontal disease.
If you experience changes in your oral health or if you are approaching a different life stage, it is best to keep your dentist informed. Furthermore, regular dental visits will help him or her see or examine any physical change in your mouth. To find out if you are at a higher risk for problems, your dentist should complete a thorough medical history.