WOMEN’S ORAL HEALTH
Men and women have many similarities, but when it comes to oral health there can also be quite a few differences. Our blog post today will delve into the unique concerns women face when it comes to their oral health.
Sjögren’s and TMJ Syndrome
Temporomandibular joint syndrome, or TMJ, is the chronic pain or soreness of the joint that connects the jaw to the skull. Women make up 90 percent of people affected by this condition. There are several presumed causes for why women are more vastly impacted by TMJ—such as stress, joint structure and collagen placement in a woman’s jaw, hormones, vitamin deficiencies, medical conditions like arthritis or fibromyalgia, and the most apparent cause, bruxism (teeth grinding).
A second condition, which is far more prevalent in women, is Sjögren’s syndrome. This is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own moisture producing glands. This leads to dry eyes and dry mouth as the salivary glands and tear ducts are affected, then progresses to other tissues and organs. Dry mouth is actually quite detrimental to oral health. Your saliva is responsible for combating bacteria, as well as keeping the pH level of the mouth at a neutral level as it washes away food particles, assists with chewing and aids in swallowing.
Regular dental visits are crucial with both of these conditions. Your dentist will be able to assess, diagnose, and initiate a treatment plan for your best oral health.
Hormonal Life Stages
As women go through puberty, pregnancy and menopause, their hormones play a significant part in their dental health. The various hormone fluctuations in a woman’s life make it vital to maintain proper oral care. Daily brushing and flossing are of utmost importance throughout these different seasons of womanhood.
During puberty and pregnancy, gingivitis and inflamed gums are very common. Increased hormone levels can exaggerate the way gums react to the irritants in dental plaque, thereby increasing gum sensitivity and causing swelling.
In menopause, dry mouth and bone loss are two areas of concern. Bone loss that occurs in the jaw can put the gums and roots of the teeth in jeopardy. Menopausal women are urged to discuss any issues like these with their dentist, so that preferably, these problems can be addressed before any negative symptoms arise.
Teenage girls suffer from eating disorders more than twice as often as teenage boys. Eating disorders are a life-threatening condition. Every system of the body is negatively affected, including the mouth. Severe food restriction from anorexia most often leads to malnutrition. Teeth and gums need essential vitamins and minerals in order to be healthy. In cases of bulimia, direct harm can be done to the teeth due to repeated exposure to the stomach acid on the teeth through the vomiting associated with binge and purge cycles.
Supporting a loved one who struggles with an eating disorder can be the first step in assisting with their recovery. The chances of recovery are increased the sooner one seeks professional help and treatment. The emotional behaviors associated with eating disorders must be addressed as well as diligent dental care. You and your dentist must work together to preserve and restore good oral health through a customized treatment plan.
Though it seems we have focused on the negative side of women’s oral health, be assured, there is one major advantage females possess: their tendency to better care for their teeth than their male counterparts!
Women are more likely than men to keep up with regularly scheduled dental appointments, brush twice a day, and floss daily. When it comes to tooth pain, women are also less likely than men to just “tough it out” and wait for their next appointment, they will address issues with their dentist as they surface.
These female tendencies mixed with healthy habits greatly reduce the impact of the concerns discussed in our blog today. So, great job, ladies! Let’s keep those mouths healthy!
For all of your family, cosmetic or restorative dental needs, we invite you to contact Paris Family Dental. Call us today to schedule your appointment at (903) 732-0061! Visit us at 2333 Lamar Ave, Paris, TX 75460 to learn more about our team, our practice, and how we provide excellence in dentistry in our area.