Life never stays the same! In fact, we all familiar with the concept that the only constant in life is change. That truism is applicable to your dental needs as well, perhaps even more for women than men.

The fact is that dental needs for women change dramatically at different times in life. It probably would not come as much of a surprise to learn that these changes correspond with the biological changes women experience along the way.

For instance, when a young woman enters puberty, her body undergoes dramatic hormonal changes. Some women notice that this can affect the health of their gums. There can be a tendency for their gums to become more inflamed and prone to bleeding.

The concern at this stage is that inflamed gums are more likely to be penetrated by the bacteria that are always found in the mouth. This can increase the risk of developing periodontal disease. If the bacteria enters into the bloodstream, it may cause or aggravate more serious  health conditions, such as infections, heart conditions, diabetes or even oral cancer.

The good news is that puberty does pass! However, young adult women are not out of the woods. If you are using birth control to reduce the risk of pregnancy, you should be aware that inflammation of the gums is also a side effect of some forms of birth control.

For women who are pregnant, the hormonal changes can again inflame the gums, leaving you susceptible to periodontal disease and bacterial infections. However, it is not just your own health that could be at risk now. The health of your developing baby can also be compromised.

Woman who are in poor oral health during pregnancy are more likely to experience a premature delivery. Babies born prematurely have significant more health challenges, some of which could affect them for their whole lives!

Then when you think you have survived all the tough stuff and the golden years of retirement are just around the corner, along comes menopause! Many post-menopausal women suffer from decreased bone density. This can increase the risk of tooth loss as well as broken or chipped teeth.

Despite all of this, the good news is that most of the negative effects can be offset by a good oral health care regime. That means regular brushing and flossing, as well as visiting your dentist as least twice per year. Your dentist may recommend more frequent visits if your oral health care needs require it.

If you notice that your gums or your daughter’s gums remain inflamed for  prolonged periods, schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss this fact. You do not need your dentist to tell you that hormonal changes can play havoc with a woman’s body. Making sure you look after your oral health during these challenging times is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon