While everyone experiences oral health issues, some dental problems disproportionately affect women more than men. Women’s dental problems are primarily due to hormonal fluctuations during different life stages, including puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. These endocrinological changes can impact gum health, saliva production, and bone density.
Discover some of the most common oral health issues women face and learn how to treat them at Smile On Chicago Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center.
Common Women’s Dental Issues
Women’s hormonal changes can often affect plaque buildup and how their bodies respond to the toxins in plaque. Below are several diseases that are more prevalent in women.
Research suggests that women are more susceptible to developing cavities than men. An increase in estrogen levels during menstruation and pregnancy can reduce saliva production.
Saliva is critical for maintaining healthy tooth enamel. It not only washes away bacteria and food debris but also contains minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, essential for remineralization. Without saliva, women’s teeth are prone to acid erosion leading to dental caries.
Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels during pregnancy, puberty, and menstruation can increase blood flow to the gums. This blood flow can cause the gums to become swollen, tender, and more easily irritated by tartar buildup along the gumline.
When not removed with regular brushing, plaque can harden into tartar, which irritates gum tissue and causes inflammation. This can lead to gingivitis and, if left untreated, may progress to a serious infection, periodontitis. Because womens’ gums are more sensitive during certain stages of their life, they are at a higher risk of gum disease.
Bone loss and osteoporosis
During menopause, a drop in estrogen leads to bone resorption. This can cause primary osteoporosis, which can affect jawbone tissue density. Poor jawbone density is related to several oral health issues, including tooth loss, dental abscesses, and periodontitis.
According to National Dental and Craniofacial Research, women over 65 have an average of 18.77 natural teeth remaining. Bone resorption makes it more challenging to replace missing teeth.
Common tooth replacement options like dentures or bridges may need more frequent replacement due to changes in the jawbone related to mineral loss. Dental implants may require bone grafts to improve jawbone quality before placing the implant.
During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin softens the body’s connective tissues, including the periodontal ligaments that hold teeth in place. This can cause teeth to shift or loosen, leading to bite changes and difficulty brushing and flossing.
Loose teeth are common in pregnant women, and they are more likely to suffer tooth loss if they sustain facial trauma or have pre-existing oral health issues like gum disease.
Protect Your Oral Health with Smile On Chicago Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center
No matter your gender, you still need regular check-ups and professional cleanings so your dentist can monitor your oral health. Book an appointment with a dentist at Smile On Chicago Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center at our two practices in Deerfield (224) 282-8939 and Lakeview (773) 525-5545.