What’s Different About Women’s Oral Health?

Dental And Skin Clinic Holly Bentleigh East, Bayside, Melbourne

HEALTH CONCERNS CAN BE a lot different for women than for men, and that even includes dental health! Women face a different set of challenges than men do in caring for their teeth and gums, as well as having different advantages.

Which Oral Health Conditions Are More Common for Women?

Did you know that most people diagnosed with teeth grinding or teeth clenching are women? It’s typically a long-term condition but it can also come and go throughout our lives. For some women it presents as soreness in the joints of the jaw. Teeth grinding or clenching can put quite a lot of strain on the jaw joint. It’s associated with stress, vitamin deficiency, or hormones could also be responsible.

Another condition that is more common in women (particularly women in their 40s and older) is dry mouth called Sjörgen’s syndrome. It’s an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the salivary glands and tear ducts, causing both dry mouth and dry eyes. 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

Pregnancy and menopause all come with major hormonal changes that can impact oral health. Gum disease and gum inflammation are more common during pregnancy, which makes good daily dental health habits like brushing even more important 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, which is why it’s important to discuss it with the dentist as soon as you notice any symptoms.

Eating Disorders Are a Serious Oral Health Problem

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 incredibly dangerous 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 the case of bulimia) destroys tooth enamel. Once tooth enamel is damaged we can’t regrow it back.

We encourage anyone struggling with an eating disorder to seek psychiatric help so that they can begin the mental recovery process. The dental health recovery process will likely require help 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 really any up-sides? Yes, actually, and it’s a big one. Women tend to be better than men at taking care of their teeth – no surprise there! Women are more likely to maintain good oral health habits, and they’re also better at keeping up with their regular dental exams and getting the dentist’s help when they experience tooth pain (as opposed to trying to tough it out), so even if they are more susceptible to certain problems, the impact is reduced!

We love working with our female patients!

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Note: All content and media on the Dental & Skin Clinic website and social media channels are created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.

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