dental care during puberty, pregnancy and menopause

Women's Dental Care

Regular visits to the dentist are important during everyone's life no matter their age or gender but for women during the life stages of puberty, pregnancy and menopause the hormonal changes to your body also affect your teeth and gums.

Puberty

During puberty the extra oestrogen and progesterone leads to increased blow flow to your mouth and gums. Your gums become more sensitive to plaque and food particles and may lead to swollen red or bleeding gums often referred to as "puberty gingivitis".

Brushing and flossing twice a day combined with maintaining your regular visit to the dentist to remove plaque and check your gum health will prevent prevent this from occurring.

Pregnancy

During pregnancy you will notice changes to your mouth and gums around the two month mark. Again extra blood flow can lead to gingivitis if regular brushing and flossing is not maintained. If your teeth are plaque free before you reach this stage of pregnancy you are less likely to develop red and bleeding gums so it is a good idea to book a dental appointment during your first 4 weeks.


Many women suffer from morning sickness (nausea) during pregnancy and it is tempting to brush your teeth straight after vomiting. Brushing within an hour of vomiting can cause more damage to your teeth by stripping away the enamel. Instead of brushing, try rinsing your mouth with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda mixed into 1 cup of warm water, chew sugar-free gum or try eating an acid-neutralising food such as milk or hard cheese.

Some women have a drier mouth during pregnancy as the saliva production can be affected. Saliva helps to reduce the bacteria that cause tooth decay your dentist can assist you with this.

You need to make regular visits to your dentist in the lead-up to, during and after your pregnancy a priority so that your teeth stay healthy.

Menopause

During menopause a pronounced decline in your hormone levels can be accompanied by a range of oral health effects.

Inflamed gums stem from a condition called menopausal gingivostomatitis with shiny, pale to deep red gums that bleed easily.

You may also find you’re way more sensitive than normal to hot and cold food and drinks, and that everything tastes a little odd, either really salty, peppery or sour, or bitter & metallic. This can be a by-product of what’s known as burning mouth syndrome (BMS). BMS can make the front part of your mouth, lips, inside cheeks and tongue feel like they’re burning, tender, hot & scalding, numb or tender.

Another symptom you may experience is a dry mouth (xerostomia), as stated above the lack of saliva can leave your teeth more vulnerable to tooth decay.

Fortunately at Butler Dental we can help you manage all these particular conditions. There’s no need to suffer through these hormonal fluctuations. Visiting us regularly throughout menopause will ensure that many of these conditions can be managed effectively. With good oral hygiene and the help of a good dentist you can maintain healthy teeth for your entire life

Postmenopause

Osteoporosis can also affect your teeth and gums post-menopause. While you might commonly think of it as something that causes the bones in your arms or legs to be brittle or your back to stoop, it can cause the bone in your jaw to recede too, leading to gum reduction and tooth loss.

A healthy diet low in sugars and high in fruit / vegetables and dairy can greatly improve your dental health through all these life stages.

References

Women and Oral Health - ADA dental week information.