Frank Roach, Dentist Discusses Women’s Oral Health : While oral health is important for everyone, women need to pay special attention. Too often, women neglect their own health in favor of their families. This could happen due to a lack of dental insurance or a lack of time to visit the office. Women need to make sure that their oral care is on point and that they are visiting their dentist at least twice a year.
Frank Roach Dentist explains why women need to take particular care of their oral health, exploring some of the health conditions and side effects that could be caused by poor oral care.
The Basics of Home Care
Every woman should make sure that she follows the basic ADA recommendations for home care. Proper home care is a positive contributor to oral health. It can help women avoid extensive, costly treatment in the future.
Even women with good dental insurance can incur high expenses when facing reconstructive treatment. Even the best dental insurance policies sometimes cover only 50 percent of the cost of fillings, crowns, and other reconstructive treatments. You should look into receiving the best possible dental insurance from your employer or taking advantage of state or federal insurance plans if you have a low income.
Patients should thoroughly brush their teeth twice each day using fluoride toothpaste. Do not neglect flossing, which should be done at least once a day. Finally, all patients need to visit their dentist twice a year for cleanings, exams, X-rays, and oral cancer screenings. Some patients, including those with gum disease or periodontitis, need to be seen more frequently.
Special Considerations for Women
Women experience hormonal shifts throughout their lifetime. Changing hormone levels during pregnancy, the menstrual cycle, and menopause can have an effect on oral health.
Changing hormone levels, especially levels of estrogen and progesterone, can cause gums to become swollen and irritated. During pregnancy, gums may bleed. This is due to the increased sensitivity of the immune system. Women of childbearing age need to know about these conditions and how they can be taken care of through proper oral care.
Research suggests that severe gum disease during pregnancy is associated with lower birth weight and preterm birth.
Healing After an Extraction
Hormones can affect how your body reacts to a tooth extraction. When a dentist pulls a tooth, clots form over the empty space. When hormones are affecting the gums, the clot may fall out, causing a painful condition known as dry socket. If you need to have oral surgery, make sure that you tell your dentist whether you are using hormonal birth control and your pregnancy status.
Oral Health and Menopause
Since hormones have such a large impact on oral health, it follows that menopause would have an effect as well. Menopause is associated with lowering levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body as a woman moves past childbearing age. Oral health conditions related to menopause include pain, dry mouth, and osteoporosis.
All women need to make sure that they are getting enough calcium throughout their lives, ideally beginning in childhood. A lower level of calcium in the body can lead to osteoporosis and the increased instability of the gums. Gum disease can take hold more easily when you are in menopause for this reason.
Increased Risk of Serious Diseases
Poor oral health is also associated with diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. Poor care of the teeth and gums is associated with higher levels of inflammation in the body, causing you to be more susceptible to systemic illnesses.
Dementia is a particular problem when it comes to women’s oral health. When a patient has dementia, it is unlikely that they will care properly for their teeth. Since they become dependent on others for their oral care, it is important to make sure that older family members’ daily caretakers are aware of this issue.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Every time you have a dental exam, your dentist performs an oral cancer screening. People who smoke or use any form of tobacco are much more likely to contract oral cancer, so these exams are especially important. You may not be aware of these screenings, but you are encouraged to talk to your dentist about what they are doing to check you for the signs of oral cancer.
Preserving Your Health
Women need to be sure that they are following all oral care recommendations based on their age, general health, and pregnancy status. Women’s oral health has changing implications over a patient’s lifetime, but proper home care and regular dental visits are the keystones.
Frank Roach Dentist encourages all women to take the same care with their own health as they would with a child or family member. Women who neglect their oral health should know that serious diseases can result. Also, the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, hormonal birth control, and menopause can have an effect on your dental health.
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