What’s Different About Women’s Oral Health?
HEALTH CONCERNS CAN BE a lot different for women than for men, including dental health! Women face a different set of challenges than men in caring for their teeth and gums, but they have other advantages.
Which Oral Health Conditions Are More Common for Women?
Did you know that 90% of people diagnosed with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) are women? TMD is chronic pain or soreness in the joints of the jaw. Typically, bruxism (teeth grinding) causes TMD. Sometimes, joint structure, stress, arthritis, vitamin deficiency, or hormones could also be responsible for TMD.
Another condition women are more likely to be affected by than men is Sjörgen’s syndrome. Sjörgen’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks parts of the body, particularly salivary glands and tear ducts, causing both dry mouth and dry eye. In addition to making chewing and swallowing difficult and uncomfortable and interfering with the sense of taste, dry mouth is dangerous to oral health.
Hormonal Changes Can Affect Teeth
Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause all come with significant hormonal changes that can impact oral health. Gingivitis and gum inflammation is more common during puberty and pregnancy. Therefore, good daily dental health habits like brushing and flossing are even more critical under these conditions.
Menopause is associated with a higher incidence of dry mouth and bone loss in the jaw. This bone loss can compromise the gum tissue and the roots of teeth. Therefore, it’s essential to discuss it with the dentist (preferably before any symptoms have begun).
Eating Disorders Are a Serious Oral Health Problem For Women
Women aren’t the only ones who struggle with eating disorders, but they are certainly twice as common among teenage girls as teenage boys. Eating disorders are hazardous and damage every system in the body, including teeth and gums. It’s a two-pronged attack on oral health. Malnutrition weakens the oral tissues and the immune system while acid erosion (in bulimia) destroys tooth enamel.
We encourage anyone struggling with an eating disorder to seek psychiatric help to begin the mental recovery process. The dental health recovery process will likely require support in the form of a rigorous dental hygiene routine and professional attention from the dentist.
The Dentist Is the Expert on Women’s Oral Health
With all these risk factors women face in keeping their teeth and gums healthy, are there any up-sides? Yes, actually, and it’s a big one. Women tend to be better than men at taking care of their teeth! Women are more likely to maintain good oral health habits. They’re also better at keeping up with their regular dental exams and getting the dentist’s help when they experience tooth pain (instead of trying to tough it out). So, even if they are more susceptible to specific problems, the impact is reduced!
We love working with our female patients!
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The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
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