Believe it or not, men and women have different oral health needs. In Fact, women’s oral health care needs change at different stages of life, including puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
Therefore, understanding the evolving oral health needs helps in ensuring that everyone, regardless of gender or stage of life, is getting the oral health care they need to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Women’s oral health care needs are primarily related to changing hormone levels. For example, during puberty, the increase in hormone levels can lead to swollen and sensitive gums, as well as mouth sores.
Long-term use of oral contraceptives can lead to gingivitis, as they contain progesterone or estrogen. In addition to that, women who take oral contraceptives are twice as susceptible to develop dry socket.
Regardless of the life changes or gender, a person should always keep his/her dentist informed of any medications he/she is taking, including oral contraceptives, especially before any major dental procedure.
Changing hormone levels during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause can raise the risk of problems in the mouth, teeth, or gums.
HeathWire, in an exclusive interaction with Dr. Namrata Rupani, a dentist, commercial photographer, entrepreneur, and TEDx speaker, has tried to understand the unique oral health problems of women.
Watch the Full Interaction in the video below:
“Women do have an increased sensitivity to oral health problems due to the hormonal changes they experience. Women have hormones like estrogen or progesterone which basically cause more blood flow to the gums which causes them to become more sensitive and over-reactive. It is not just the menstrual cycle and menopause, the onset of puberty and oral contraceptives also affect the women’s oral health,” Dr. Namrata says.
“Other than the hormonal conditions there are health issues like diabetes and thyroid imbalances which do affect oral health,” adds Dr. Rupani.
How does pregnancy affect oral health?
Dr. Rupani explains, “Pregnancy gingivitis is a very common problem that I see a lot in the clinic. This is an oral disease that women face during their pregnancy. This is caused by an increase in hormones of estrogen and progesterone that basically causes gum disease and can occur any time during pregnancy between the second the eighth months. It’s a vicious cycle. Due to the increase in progesterone the blood flow increases in the gums, the gums can be swollen so, there is more plague build up.”
Giving a message to all the women who avoid coming to a dentist during the pregnancy, she says, “It is perfectly safe to visit a dentist during the pregnancy, especially during the second trimester or during the initial stages of your third trimester. It is perfectly safe to visit a dentist. Timely visit to a dentist will ensure that there is no oral disease, no gingivitis that you might get during pregnancy.”