The Importance Of Oral Hygiene For Women

As a woman, your oral health can change throughout your life.  It is of the uttermost importance to be mindful of your oral hygiene to preserve the health of your teeth and gums.  In recent years, there has been a lot of research on how oral health can change as you go through different hormonal cycles, such as puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.  Sugar-free gum can really help improve your dental hygiene by fighting the acid that causes tooth decay.  It’s ideal if you can’t brush your teeth between meals.

Puberty

As you go through puberty, your increase in hormones can affect your teeth and gums and cause a build-up of bacteria to form over your teeth.  The bacteria can cause your enamel to degrade and cause cavities.  Teenagers can also be prone to gingivitis.

The body responds to bacterial plaque surrounding the teeth with an inflammatory response.  The gum tissue often becomes red, inflamed, irritated, and bloody.

Menstruation

Each month, as a woman goes through her menstruation cycle, her hormones change.  The extra progesterone increase can cause oral changes such as swollen and red gums, swollen salivary glands, development of canker sores (aphthous ulcers), or bleeding gums.

Pregnancy

It’s quite common knowledge that a woman’s oral health can change during pregnancy.  My stepdaughter is really suffering with her teeth being postpartum.  This is a very important time to increase your oral hygiene.  According to the NHS, some women get swollen and sore gums, which may bleed, during pregnancy.  Bleeding gums are caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth.  Women experiencing morning sickness also need to be mindful to rinse their mouths with water after an episode to prevent the acid in their vomit from damaging their teeth.  Chewing sugar-free gum would be another way to help with preventing the acid from damaging your teeth.

Menopause

Following menopause, women become more susceptible to periodontal disease.  This is believed to be due in large part to estrogen deficiency with resulting bone loss and inflammatory processes.

“Osteoporosis and periodontal disease are best diagnosed early so that treatment can be started sooner and fractures and tooth loss can be prevented.” Pubmed.

women with healthy teeth

So how do we, as women, properly care for our teeth at every stage of our lives?  I thought I’d give you a quick rundown of these basic steps to ensure a good, healthy routine is established.

How To Care For Your Oral Hygiene

  • Brush your teeth morning and night – it’s recommended that you brush them for around two minutes and that you use toothpaste with fluoride in it.  Brush all sides of your teeth.  Don’t rinse with water after brushing your teeth as it’ll wash away the concentrated fluoride in the remaining toothpaste.  It’s recommended that you help or supervise children up to seven years to brush their teeth.
  • Floss between your teeth – lots of people forget this crucial step but doing so removes food, debris and plaque from between your teeth.  Some people use an interdental toothbrush instead of floss, which works equally as well
  • Chew sugar-free gum – chewing sugar-free gum (which is sweetened using xylitol) can help your dental health by promoting the production of saliva, and protecting your teeth and gums between meals from the acid that is produced by plaque bacteria which slowly dissolves away the enamel, causing a cavity.  You can read more about xylitol in dental care here.
  • Cut down on sugar – sugar is the main cause of tooth decay, this is no secret, by cutting down on it you’ll ensure a healthier mouth and teeth.  As your mouth breaks down the sugar, bacteria are produced.  It’s this bacteria that causes the damage.
  • Have regular dental check-ups – by visiting your dentist, they can detect problems early on and treat them.  Once the damage is done, it’s harder to repair.

sugar free gum

I hope you’ve found this post informative.  Please check out my other health-related posts.

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