Today sees the launch of the Australian Dental Association’s major annual oral health promotion event, Dental Health Week, which this year draws attention to women’s oral health.
The three main objectives of Dental Health Week, which runs from 1 to 7 August, are to:
Promote oral health education and awareness in the general community
Motivate and educate dental professionals to promote oral health
Encourage ongoing collaboration within the dental profession
With this year’s focus on the significant way that hormones can wreck havoc on a woman’s oral health, women are encouraged to gain a greater understanding of the significant impact that various life stages have on the health of their teeth and gums.
As women experience various life stages from puberty, menstruation, pregnancy or menopause, their bodies have different combinations of hormones, which can have an adverse effect on oral health.
Dental Health Week 2016 focuses on creating awareness around how a woman’s oral health is affected at each stage:
Puberty and your oral health
The onset of puberty in girls produces an influx of hormones. As estrogen and progesterone increase blood flow to the gums, it can make them more sensitive to bacteria and thus plaque formation. This can result in a condition called “puberty gingivitis”.
Cavities and bad breath are more likely during this time and gums tend to become more susceptible to infections, such as gingivitis.
We recommend regular trips to the dentist, along with proper brushing and flossing to mitigate the chances of periodontitis (gum disease).
Menstruation and your oral health
Menstruation can cause problems similar to female puberty due to excess production of estrogen and progesterone. Many women report an increase in gum inflammation and discomfort associated with their menstrual cycle.
However, the days immediately following a period can be the best time to have a teeth cleaning or extractions done as the teeth and gums tend to be less sensitive.
Pregnancy and your oral health
During pregnancy, more than half of all women (60 to 70 percent) experience a condition called “pregnancy gingivitis”. This is more common in those with previous gum problems than those who have otherwise healthy gums and good brushing and flossing habits.
Stay on top of your regular dental checkups and cleans and be vigilant about oral hygiene.
Menopause and your oral health
Menopausal women experience a decrease in hormones, which can result in gingivitis, burning mouth syndrome (BMS) or dry mouth.
It can also cause increased sensitivity to heat, cold and certain tastes. Should you experience any of these symptoms discuss them with your friendly Core Dental dentist.
Follow these simple tips to ensure you stay gum disease-free:
Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste to reduce risk of decay.
Adopt inter-dental cleaning to remove food trapped between teeth.
Eat balanced meals low in sugar and acid.
Have dental sealants placed where necessary.
Visit your dentist and dental hygienist regularly for oral examinations and professional cleanings.