May is Women’s Health Month, so your dentist in Lake Oswego thought it was an excellent time to learn more about the connection between women, hormone levels, and oral health. Women have a unique set of issues that we wanted to shed some light on during this important time of health awareness and wellbeing.
The Teenage Years
When a young girl hits puberty age, estrogen and progesterone play a role in both oral and overall health. They begin the process of puberty that can trigger reactions in your gums that result in redness, bleeding, and swelling within the mouth. Gums may react differently to different germs and bacteria, which could lead to bad breath, cavities, and unnecessary pain. Canker sores and swelling in the salivary glands can also be symptoms of an impending menstrual cycle once puberty has fully set in. It’s essential that adolescent girls regularly see their dentist in Lake Oswego for regular checkups and cleanings.
Using Birth Control
If you’re someone who relies on oral contraceptives or pills for birth control, you’ll want to let us know that you take this medication. Maintaining your oral health while using these pills is very important. Hormone levels in women on the birth control pill, especially brands containing progesterone, can increase the risk of developing gum disease due to increased blood flow. Sometimes, prescription antibiotics will be necessary to help treat your gum disease.
During Your Pregnancy
Few things are more exciting in a woman’s life than having a child. However, a mother’s oral health can affect the baby’s overall health, so dental care is critical during this time of crucial development. Again, women might experience changes in their oral health due to an abundance of estrogen and progesterone, as we spoke about earlier during the onset of puberty. Due to this hormonal increase, “pregnancy gingivitis” can occur with painful inflammation in your gum and surrounding tissue. Gum disease has been linked to preterm or low birth weight in newborn babies.
All About Menopause
If you’re a woman going through menopause, it’s important to pay close attention to what’s happening with your oral health and any changes. Women at this stage of life often experience dry mouth due to a decrease in how much saliva their body creates. When there’s not enough saliva in your mouth, it can be a breeding ground for bacteria that leads to dangerous gum disease. You also need saliva to fight tooth decay, wash food away from your teeth, and fight germs. It’s also important to note that certain medications we start to take as we age can also lead to dry mouth as a side effect. Hormonal changes during menopause can also lead to issues with osteoporosis. This could lead to bone loss in your jaw, ultimately leading to tooth loss.
Hormonal changes are a normal part of a woman’s life, but they don’t have to interfere with how you take care of your teeth. All women should have access to outstanding care like we provide as your dentist in Lake Oswego. This Women’s Health Month, don’t overlook your dental care. Talk to us about how we can help you stay healthy for a lifetime.