National Women’s Health Week is celebrated the entire week of Mother’s Day and is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. Its purpose is to remind women and girls of all ages to make their health a priority. Your dentist in Wicker Park wants to do our part by dedicating this blog to the strong women of our practice and our community and by taking the opportunity to share a bit about the unique dental care women need during every age and stage of life.
How Hormones Hamper Oral Health
All women know that their lives are full of changes, particularly hormonal changes, that can affect them at different stages. While many people associate hormonal changes with emotions and mood (among other things), your dentist in Wicker Park wants you to know that hormones can also affect your oral health and put you at increased risk for gum disease and other oral health problems.
Pre-teens and younger teenage women start their hormonal journey with puberty. Puberty usually begins between age 8 and 14, although it can vary from person to person. While the body will go through a lot of changes during this time, one of the largest changes is not visible — hormonal changes. These fluctuations in hormones are to thank for changes in emotions and mood, but they can also increase estrogen levels as well as progesterone levels. The increase in these hormones can often increase blood flow in the mouth, particularly concentrating on the gums. This can cause young women to have red, swollen gums that often bleed during brushing or flossing. If this happens, it’s incredibly important to keep brushing and flossing regularly to remove bad bacteria. If you’re concerned about bleeding gums, see your dentist in Wicker Park.
Once a woman begins her menstrual cycle, hormones will continue to rise and fall each month. She may also still have red, swollen gums that bleed – usually a few days before her period. Canker sores are also common during this time. Typically, the bleeding gums and canker sores will go away on their own. If they don’t, see your dentist. Hormonal changes during menstruation can also cause dry mouth. Dry mouth has been linked to bad breath as well as cavities.
If a woman decides to become pregnant, it’ll be even more important to take care of her teeth. After all, poor oral health during pregnancy has been linked to premature births, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. Brushing and flossing every night is also incredibly important for a mom-to-be since pregnancy gingivitis is also a common side effect of hormonal changes. Pregnant women should visit their dentist in Wicker Park during the second trimester or if they experience a dental concern.
Once a woman is past her childbearing years and enters menopause, she will once again experience shifts in hormones. Menopause usually happens between 45 and 55, and during this time, estrogen levels decrease. This loss of estrogen can put a woman at risk for osteoporosis and bone loss. The bone loss can easily affect the jaw bone and put teeth at increased risk of falling out. But don’t worry, even if natural teeth fall out, they can be replaced with dentures, dental implants, or other dental treatments.
We care for the health of our entire community, women and men alike, and strive to do everything we can during each stage of life to get and keep mouths and bodies healthy. Don’t hesitate to schedule a visit with us today.