What’s Special About Women’s Oral Health
There are plenty of factors that go into oral health that affect men and women equally. However, it might surprise you to learn that a woman's reproductive system has a big role to play in their oral health. Here's what women should know about their oral health and how it's affected by the reproductive system's processes.
Hormones are the main reason why women experience oral health problems. Women have varying levels of hormones depending on their overall health and their reproductive cycle. When these hormones shift, they can have a significant impact on one's oral health. These hormones are a necessity in order for the reproductive system to work properly, but they can also cause negative, unwanted effects elsewhere.
When women have a period, their progesterone levels rise temporarily. This helps to facilitate the shedding of the uterine lining, but it is released throughout the body, so it can have an impact everywhere.
That means that when a woman has a period, there's a good chance that their gums will be affected by the progesterone. Bleeding and sore or swollen gums are very common during periods. Another possibility is that if you have previously had canker sores or cold sores, they may flare up while you're on your period.
Periods aren't the only times that hormones are thrown out of whack. Pregnancy typically does a number on one's oral health, too.
Women can actually develop a specific type of gum disease that's connected to hormone shifts during pregnancy. Think of it as a longer version of period-induced hormone shifts and their effect on the gums.
Women who experience these symptoms should seek help from a dentist. While it may be temporary and could stop at the end of pregnancy, nine months is a long time to have gum disease. During this time, damage could occur to the teeth, infections can occur in the gums, and in some cases, gum disease has been shown to have a negative effect on fetuses. Getting dental help will not only keep your teeth and gums healthy, but it will help to ensure that your child is born safely.
If you're experiencing these problems, talk to a dentist. While most women will experience some form of the effects of hormone shifts, if you keep your teeth and gums in ideal shape, the effects won't be as severe during your periods or if you become pregnant.