SCOTTS VALLEY, SANTA CRUZ, CA
Men and women face varying struggles with their health. And their oral health is no different! Maintaining your oral health consists of sticking to a daily oral hygiene routine, as well as seeing the dentist twice a year. But for some people, women specifically, following all the rules isn’t enough to maintain healthy teeth and gums. What gives? Today on the blog, our Scotts Valley dentists at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry share why women struggle with their oral health more than men.
Dental conditions affect women more often than men
Women face certain dental conditions more so than men. For example, women account for 90% of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD) sufferers. Jaw joint disorders or TMJD may be caused by bruxism or clenching and grinding your teeth while sleeping. However, jaw joint alignment, arthritis, and even hormones may increase a woman’s risk of developing TMJD. Another disorder that mainly affects women is Sjörgen’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder affecting the salivary glands and tear ducts, causing dry mouth and dry eyes. Dry mouth can make preventing cavities and gum disease much more challenging.
Hormone fluctuations affect oral health
Females are subject to hormone fluctuations throughout life, beginning with puberty, then again during pregnancy, and least we forget about menopause. During puberty and pregnancy, inflamed and irritated gums are more likely to occur due to hormone changes women experience during these life phases. Pregnancy gingivitis can make maintaining healthy teeth and gums challenging, which makes oral hygiene and dental care an essential part of prenatal care. If you’re pregnant, pay attention to your gums. If they bleed easily, are inflamed, or irritated, you could have gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease. Left untreated, it could progress into periodontitis, which is the number one cause of tooth loss among adults and could increase health risks for your baby. But you’re not in the clear after the baby arrives because eventually, menopause begins and adds another set of health changes and risks for women. During menopause, a woman is more likely to experience loss of bone density, which could affect her teeth if the jawbone recedes, causing teeth to loosen and need extracting. Going through menopause doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose your teeth. It just means you should take special care in maintaining your oral health and don’t skip your dental checkups. Dental x-rays are typically taken at least once a year, which helps the doctor monitor your jawbone levels and health.
Women are more likely to suffer from eating disorders
While men can also suffer from eating disorders, it occurs more often in women. Eating disorders can be incredibly damaging to your body and your oral health. Eating disorders often lead to malnourishment, which deprives tissue in the body of nutrients. This could result in gum disease or receding jawbone, both of which may lead to tooth loss. Additionally, bulimia, which is an eating disorder in which the person purges their stomach by self-inducing vomiting, causes enamel erosion from repetitive exposure to stomach acids. Our Scotts Valley dentists recommend seeking professional help if you battle an eating disorder.
While these challenges do not mean that women have worse oral health than men. It just means that women may need to pay extra attention and efforts toward maintaining their oral health during certain times in life like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. How hormones impact oral health shouldn’t be an excuse for having “bad teeth.” Instead, we recommend women take care in ensuring they brush twice a day, floss daily, and receive professional dental cleanings twice a year. It’s also helpful to limit sugary beverages and processed snacks and opt for healthy fruits and vegetables instead. Avoiding tobacco can also help you get a leg up on maintaining a healthy smile.
Family Dentist in Scotts Valley, Los Gatos, and Santa Cruz
Whether male or female, you can maintain healthy teeth with the right oral hygiene regimen, preventive dental care treatments like cleanings and checkups, and a healthy lifestyle. If you’d like to learn more about protecting your teeth and gums or schedule an appointment, contact Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry by calling (831) 438-4411 or visit our website for more information.